JNTO Announces Record-Breaking Visitor Numbers for 2017
Last year saw the highest number of visitors to Japan since government records began, with the number of visitors from the UK passing 300,000 for the first time.
Over 28 Million Visitors to Japan in 2017
Latest statistics released by JNTO reveal that a record-breaking number of international visitors travelled to Japan last year. The country welcomed 28,691,000 international visitors in 2017, a 19.3% increase on the previous year (24,040,000 visitors in 2016) and the highest number since JNTO began keeping records in 1964. The results from last year show that Japan is well on the way to achieving its goal of attracting 40 million visitors by 2020, the year of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Annual visitor numbers from the UK topped 310,000, also marking a record high. In fact, last year was a successful year for all of JNTO’s primary markets, with all twenty of its primary markets recording record numbers of international visitors.
Among them, the top-performing individual markets were China (7,356,000 people) and South Korea (7,140,000 people), becoming the first of JNTO’s markets to achieve over 7,000,000 visitors. Between them, the four East Asian markets of China, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong sent 21,292,000 international visitors to Japan, an increase of 21.9% compared to the previous year.
In fact, more than 70% of international visitors to Japan last year came from these four countries. As in the previous year, the highest percentage of visitors was from East Asia (74.2%; compared to 72.7% in 2016); followed by 11.3% from Europe, America and Australia (12.3% in 2016); and 10.6% from South East Asia and India (11.0% in 2016).
The Russian market also showed strong growth, with a 40.8% increase in visitors from Russia compared to the previous year, largely thanks to relaxation of visa requirements at the beginning of the year.
Expansion of airline routes, an increase in the number of cruise port calls, relaxation of visa requirements for some countries, and continuous promotion efforts by JNTO are all thought to have helped boost international visitor numbers to record highs last year.
Over 2.5 Million Visitors to Japan in December 2017
In their cumulative totals from January, seven markets (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, UK, France and Italy) exceeded their annual totals for last year in December, meaning that all twenty primary markets reached their highest international visitors numbers to date.
6.2% Increase in Visitors from UK to Japan in 2017
Strong Performance in Primary European Markets
JNTO continued its efforts in all European markets through a variety of promotional activities throughout the year including joint advertising campaigns with airlines in high appeal locations such as subway stations and airports; inviting proposals for television programs and commercials; PR strategies to broaden purchasing channels; increasing multimedia coverage of Japan as a tourism destination; and relationship-building with government and industry representatives.
Highlights included the opening of new JNTO offices in Rome and Madrid in March 2017 and the resumption of direct flights between Spain and Japan for the first time in nearly two decades in October 2017 (Madrid-Narita route by Iberia Airlines). These and other continuous efforts by JNTO are thought to have contributed to the positive results in the European market in 2017.