Japan's travel surplus in 2020 shrank to nearly one-fifth of the previous year, the first drop since the balance turned into the black in 2015, as international travel bans amid the coronavirus pandemic had a huge impact on the number of inbound visitors, government data showed Monday.

The travel balance, which reflects the amount of money foreign visitors spend in Japan versus Japanese spending abroad, tumbled 79.2% to ¥562.1 billion ($5.3 billion) from a record ¥2.70 trillion in 2019, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report.

Still, the travel balance, annual comparable data for which became available in 1996, logged black ink for the sixth straight year in 2020. In 2015, the balance saw its first black ink of ¥1.09 trillion, following a ¥44.4 billion deficit marked in 2014.