With few positive signs of recovery for Japan's slumping economy, foreign tourism remains a sole ray of hope, and tourism authorities, local governments, industry players as well as retailers are eagerly awaiting another possibly record-breaking surge in Chinese tourists during next month's Chinese New Year holiday.

Though economists say a tourism boom alone won't bail the country out of its economic plight, they do see it having a positive impact.

Koichi Haji, managing director of NLI Research Institute, says the "effect in buoying economic sentiment is big."