National

Japan plans to tap high-wealth tourists with bid to attract luxury superyachts from abroad

JIJI

The transport ministry is boosting efforts to attract superyachts, owned by wealthy foreign individuals, to Japan in the hope that their port calls bring a major boost to the country’s economy.

The ministry hopes that visits by superyachts, or large cruisers with a length of 24 meters or more, will help revitalize regional communities.

The ministry has been working with other government agencies to secure space for berthing facilities for the yachts and to identify ways to make their port call procedures more efficient, aiming to implement such measures before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, officials said.

The number of superyachts has been increasing in recent years, standing at slightly below 10,000 worldwide in 2018. The superyacht market is expected to grow further.

While ports in countries in or along the Caribbean and Mediterranean seas are popular anchorage sites, only 10 superyachts visited Japan in 2018. Fifteen to 20 superyachts are expected to make port calls in the nation in 2019.

To achieve its aims Japan must secure quays for use by superyachts, to encourage long stays, and increase efficiency in customs procedures as well as inward and outward clearance.

The transport ministry will work with the Japan Tourism Agency and others to identify tourist activities that may attract wealthy individuals to the nation aboard superyachts, and to launch a promotion campaign targeting those people, the officials said.

As superyachts tend to stay for a long period, their crew members are expected to bring significant economic benefits through spending on tourism activities, souvenir purchases and expenses on food and other items for parties on board.

For example, a group of people who visited Japan aboard a superyacht spent ¥45 million during their 30-day stay.