Japan's public and private sectors are stepping up efforts to accommodate an annual 40 million visitors from abroad -- a target figure the government set for 2020.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism seeks to deregulate many aspects of the tourism industry, while hotel operators are scrambling to increase locations.
The number of visitors to Japan reached a fresh record of 24.03 million last year, even though growth slowed from 2015 to 22%. If growth continues at a pace of 14% a year, visitor numbers would reach 40 million in 2020. The figures "are rising steadily toward our goal," Transport Minister Keiichi Ishii said Tuesday.
But capacity shortages at hotels and airports could pose hurdles, said Noriko Yagasaki, an associate professor at Toyo University.
Should tourist numbers reach 40 million, demand for lodgings would rise by another 35,000 rooms in Tokyo, according to real estate services company CBRE. A shortage of more than 10,000 rooms is expected as a result.
The transport ministry plans to submit a series of bills to the regular Diet session convening on Jan. 20, including legislation to ease regulations related to Airbnb-style home-sharing arrangements. It also aims to allow more people to become paid tour guides and expand departure and landing slots at Tokyo's Haneda Airport.
A drop in per-person spending by foreign tourists in 2016 has highlighted challenges Japan needs to overcome to meet its goal of achieving 8-trillion-yen spending by them, pundits pointed out Tuesday. (Jiji)
After 17 years in the Japan travel business, you might have thought we'd seen everything there is to see. And it's true – we have explored every inch of Japan, toured every prefecture, eaten in thousands of restaurants and slept at countless hotels. Yet in a country as fast-paced as Japan, there's always something new and exciting happening to make us see our favourite destinations in a different light. So in 2017, where will we be heading? (insidejapantours.com)
Kanto Bus Co. and transport company Ryobi Holdings said Wednesday they will introduce a luxury overnight bus, the Dream Sleeper, to link Tokyo and Osaka on Jan. 18, offering secluded compartments for each passenger. (Japan Times)
The number of visitors to Japan in 2016 jumped 21.8 pct from the previous year to an estimated 24,039,000, renewing its record high for the fourth successive year, Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Keiichi Ishii said Tuesday. (Jiji)