Japan prepares for mass influx of tourists
Nikkei -- Jan 11
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.

News source: Nikkei
Jan 20
Over 9.4 million foreign tourists visited Osaka last year, the largest number ever, Osaka tourism authorities announced earlier this week. (Japan Times)
Jan 18
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)
Jan 16
Snow continues to fall in many parts of Japan, causing fatal accidents and disrupting traffic. (NHK)
Jan 16
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)
Jan 12
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)
Jan 11
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. (Nikkei)
Jan 11
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)
Jan 11
Tokyo Disney Resort will not raise admission for the first time in four years as attendance levels off, while thriving Osaka rival Universal Studios Japan will hike its price yet again. (Nikkei)
Jan 09
Four of the five traditional hanamachi entertainment districts in Kyoto held ceremonies to start business for the New Year on Saturday. (the-japan-news.com)
Jan 08
Japan's transport ministry will carry out renovations at Tokyo's Haneda Airport in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. (NHK)