• Kyodo


The number of tourists visiting Japan from other Asian countries by 2017 is forecast to be 41 percent higher than last year’s total, according to a study by the Development Bank of Japan.

The number of Asian travelers to Japan is projected to reach 9 million in 2017, up from an estimated 6.4 million in 2012, with Chinese, South Korean, Taiwanese and Indonesian visitor numbers expected to swell significantly, the recent study by the government-backed DBJ showed.

And even these figures could be exceeded if the government launches strategic tourism campaigns in emerging economies to promote visits to Japan and introduces measures to better accommodate foreign travelers at destinations nationwide, the study said.

Tourists from South Korea are expected to surge 39 percent to 2.8 million in 2017, while those from China will soar 53 percent to 2.2 million and Taiwanese visitors will jump 36 percent to 2.0 million, according to the study’s forecasts.

Among rapidly emerging Asian nations, around 190,000 travelers from Indonesia are expected to visit Japan in the target year — an 86 percent spike compared with 2012 levels and the sharpest increase among the countries surveyed by the study.

The projections will cheer the government, which is targeting an annual total of 25 million foreign visitors by 2020. The calculations were based on a global economic forecast issued by the International Monetary Fund and foreign exchange rates as of early February.

Preliminary estimates by the Japan National Tourism Organization indicate that in 2012, the total number of foreign visitors to Japan, including from Asian countries, climbed to 8.37 million. The figure plummeted to 6.22 million in 2011 due to the natural and nuclear disasters that March, a nearly 30 percent year-on-year plunge from the 8.61 million foreign travelers seen in 2010.

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