Japan witnesses resurgence of foreign visitors, approaching pre-pandemic heights


21st February 2024 – (Tokyo) Japan’s tourism sector has reached a landmark figure, with the number of international tourists in January hitting nearly the same peak as pre-pandemic levels, revealed government statistics on Wednesday.

The Japan National Tourism Organization’s latest report highlighted an impressive 79.5 per cent upswing from the previous year, with the tally of foreign tourists reaching 2,688,100. This resurgence nudges close to the record of 2,689,339 set in January 2019, just before the global onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This revival comes in the wake of Japan’s easing of COVID-19 border restrictions in late April, a move that has been instrumental in the gradual return of international visitors. Additionally, the lure of a weak yen has made Japan an increasingly attractive destination for tourists seeking value for their currency.

Despite concerns, the repercussions of the formidable earthquake that struck central Japan on New Year’s Day have been minimal, with the Japan National Tourism Organization noting its “limited” impact on the influx of tourists.

The data reveals that South Korea leads the pack, with 857,000 visitors marking a 10.0 percent increase over January 2019. This signifies a promising trend and underscores the growing appeal of Japan as a top travel destination in the post-pandemic world.

Conversely, the number of Japanese nationals venturing abroad in January experienced a notable rise of 89.3 per cent from the year prior, reaching 838,600. However, this figure still trails by 42.3 per cent compared to the same month in 2019, indicating that outbound travel from Japan has yet to fully recover.