Japan Sees Continued Tourism Recovery with 96.1% of Pre-Covid Level
Official data released by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) on Wednesday revealed that Japan welcomed more than 2 million international visitors for the fourth consecutive month in September. This marks a near full recovery to pre-pandemic levels, although the Chinese market has been slow to rebound.
In September, 2.18 million foreign visitors came to Japan for both business and leisure, a slight increase from August’s 2.16 million. These numbers have reached an impressive 96.1% of the levels seen in 2019 before the global outbreak of COVID-19 prompted travel restrictions.
The east Asian country significantly eased its COVID-19 border restrictions a year ago, and the recovery in arrivals has been swift, peaking at 2.32 million visitors in July. This resurgence was partly driven by more international flights and the depreciation of the Japanese yen, making the country an appealing and affordable destination for tourists.
While arrivals from various markets have surged, Chinese visitor numbers are still 60% below 2019 levels. This decline is attributed to diplomatic tensions and concerns about Japan’s treated water release from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. Despite these challenges, there is optimism for the tourism sector’s continued recovery. In the first nine months of 2023, over 17 million visitors arrived in Japan, although this figure still lags significantly behind the pre-pandemic record of approximately 32 million visitors in 2019.