Tourism climbs 13.6% in first quarter but per capita spending falls


Japan drew a significant increase in foreign visitors during the January to March quarter, but spending per person fell, government data show.

The Japan Tourism Agency said Wednesday that an estimated 6,537,200 people visited Japan in the first quarter of 2017, up 13.6 percent from the same quarter one year ago.

While the combined amount of spending grew 4 percent to an estimated ¥967.9 billion ($8.93 billion), however, the amount spent per visitor dropped 8.5 percent to ¥148,066.

Chinese continued to drive most of the spending in the quarter, unloading ¥371.8 billion. They were followed by Taiwanese at ¥133.4 billion and South Koreans at ¥118.0 billion.

But the Chinese visitors spent 4.7 percent less overall and 14.9 percent less per visitor, translating to ¥225,489 each in the quarter.

South Koreans accounted for the largest share of foreign visitors during the quarter at 1,713,800, or 26.2 percent, closely followed by the Chinese at 1,648,700, or 25.2 percent.

The influx for March alone was estimated at 2,205,700, up 9.8 percent on year and a record for the month.

By country and region, visitors from China took first place at 509,000, up 2.2 percent, followed by South Korea at 488,400, representing a surge of 30.6 percent, and Taiwan at 339,900, up 3.5 percent.