Japan regional areas gain increasing cut of foreign tourists

The government’s latest White Paper on Tourism again demonstrates that foreign tourists visiting Japan are increasingly moving beyond the major urban areas of the Kanto, Kansai, and Nagoya regions.

Of the 31.19 million foreign tourists in 2018, 57.7 percent visited regions outside of the three major urban areas, a significant advance on previous figures. This translates to about 18 million foreign travelers making it out to the countryside last year.

The White Paper also noted that when major natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis devastate a region, foreign tourists are slower to return to the area as compared to domestic tourists, who return relatively quickly.

These emerging tourism patterns would appear to represent good news for the economic prospects of Japan’s future regional IRs.