Japan tourism rebounded in October after slow month in wake of natural disasters

Kyodo

After a slow month caused by a string of natural disasters, Japan’s booming tourism industry appears to be nearly back on track.

Tourism rebounded slightly in October after the number of foreign visitors had dropped the previous month for the first time since 2013 following multiple natural disasters, government data showed Wednesday.

The estimated number of visitors from overseas rose 1.8 percent from a year earlier to 2,640,600 in October, according to the Japan Tourism Agency, but the pace of the increase has not returned to the double-digit levels seen before the disasters.

By country and region, the biggest number of tourists came from China in October at 715,300, up 7.8 percent, followed by South Korea at 571,200, down 8 percent and marking a fourth consecutive month of decline, Taiwan at 379,600, down 9.9 percent, and Hong Kong at 169,500, down 0.9 percent.

The total number of foreign travelers to Japan in the January to October period reached 26,109,300, up 9.7 percent from a year earlier, according to the data.

If the number of visitors continues through the end of the year on a pace equivalent to that of November and December 2017, the figure would eclipse the 30 million milestone for annual visitors for the first time. Japan aims to welcome 40 million foreign visitors by 2020.

In September, a magnitude 6.7 earthquake rocked Hokkaido, killing more than 40 people and triggering an island-wide blackout, and a typhoon forced the temporary closure of Kansai International Airport in Osaka, the main international gateway to the region.

Earlier this year, a major earthquake jolted Osaka and torrential rains devastated wide areas of western Japan, killing about 230 people.