Hongkongers contribute much to Japan tourism boom

January 18, 2019 11:05
Foreign tourists  spent a total of 4.5 trillion yen (US$41.37 billion) in Japan last year, of which 335.5 billion yen, or 7.4 percent, was contributed by Hong Kong visitors. Photo: AFP, Bloomberg, Reuters


Who doesn't want to go to Japan for a vacation?

All the delicious sushi and sashimi you can eat, a stay in a quaint and tidy ryokan, amazing sights, great shopping bargains: just the perfect therapy a Hong Kong workaholic needs to recharge their energy.

The beauty of Japan is known everywhere. Last year, the number of visitors to Japan reached 31.19 million, up 8.7 percent to a record high, according to the Japan Tourism Agency. 

Japan hosted only 10 million foreign tourists back in 2013, but this surged to 24 million in 2016, thanks to a relaxation of tourist visas. It hopes to attract 40 million visitors in 2020. 

Interestingly, Hong Kong is the only one in Asia that registered a decrease in the number of visitors to Japan last year. But still, it's a significant number: 2.21 million Hongkongers, or three in 10 people in our city, visited Japan in 2018, down 1.1 percent.

The slight dip can be attributed to Typhoon Jebi, which resulted in the closure of Kansai International Airport for more than a week. The Hokkaido earthquake last year also had an effect.

On the other hand, visitors from mainland China grew 13.9 percent last year to 8.38 million. Following China were visitors from South Korea, which rose 5.6 percent, and Taiwan, which increased 4.2 percent.

Foreign tourists spent a total of 4.5 trillion yen (US$41.37 billion) in Japan, of which nearly a third, or 1.54 trillion yen, was contributed by mainland tourists.

Hong Kong tourists spent 335.5 billion yen, or 7.4 percent of the tourist dollars Japan earned last year.

The top five, which also included the United States, contributed almost 74 percent of all the tourist spending in Japan during the year.

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EJ Insight writer