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Foreign visitors to Japan increase 17% in 1st half of 2017

  • July 19, 2017
  • , Kyodo News , 8:43 p.m.
  • English Press

The number of foreign visitors to Japan in the first half of 2017 soared 17.4 percent from a year earlier to a record 13.76 million, mainly due to a rise in tourists from South Korea, the Japan Tourism Agency estimated Wednesday.

 

A separate report showed spending by foreign tourists during the six-month period rose 8.6 percent to a record 2.05 trillion yen ($18.3 billion), topping the 2 trillion yen level for the first time.

 

“We will make efforts so that the momentum continues in the second half of the year as well,” said the agency’s commissioner Akihiko Tamura.

 

Spending by tourists in April to June rose to 1.08 trillion yen, up 13.0 percent from the same period last year.

 

But spending per visitor in the same period fell 6.7 percent to 149,248 yen, the sixth consecutive quarter of decline, reflecting decreased spending by Chinese tourists once known for extravagant shopping and shorter stays by South Korean tourists traveling on low-cost carriers.

 

No per capita data was provided for the half-year period.

 

By country and region, South Korea accounted for the highest number of foreign tourists at 3.40 million, up 42.5 percent, followed by China at 3.28 million, up 6.7 percent. The number from Hong Kong surged 24.8 percent to 1.08 million.

 

The sharp rise in visitors from South Korea was attributable to an increase in low-cost carrier flights and a rebound in tourists following earthquakes last April that devastated Kumamoto Prefecture in southwestern Japan, according to the agency.

 

In June alone, 2.35 million foreign tourists visited Japan, up 18.2 percent from a year earlier, marking the highest figure for the month.

 

Although tourists from China ranked top in the month, the agency said the modest rise of 0.8 percent indicates they are shifting to Europe for travel destinations.

 

==Kyodo

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