Japanese Government Initiatives for Inbound Tourism Recovery
by Hirokazu Nishikawa
Last October, during the Ministerial Conference on the Promotion of Tourism presided over by the Prime Minister, the government decided on a new "Policy Package for a Full-Scale Recovery of Inbound Travel." The government will mobilize all relevant ministries and agencies to implement intensive measures with the aim of achieving inbound consumption of over 5 trillion yen.
The pre-Covid target was to achieve 15 trillion yen in inbound travel spending by 2030, and although the target has been reset to about one-third of the same amount, the government intends to take advantage of the weak yen to achieve the same amount as quickly as possible. In this report, I would like to provide an overview of the package.
Contents of the Package
The package has the following four pillars, which are listed below along with specific examples of each.
(1) Providing special experiences
Promote the provision of special experiences and limited-time-only activities throughout the country, such as the limited-opening of Himeji Castle's keep, which is a World Heritage site. The provision of special experiences and limited-time-only initiatives will be promoted in every corner of Japan. Other examples include the opening of the interior of the five-story pagoda at Myooin Temple in Hiroshima Prefecture and the opening of the Shosoin Temple in Nara Prefecture to the public (both are designated national treasures).
Myooin Five-Story Pagoda
(2) Providing new experiences that take advantage of the charms of nature
Promote the provision of new content, such as adventure tourism, which refers to activities that allow visitors to experience nature. In national parks, promote nighttime use, etc., in order to expand the use of these parks.
Nighttime walking event in Akan-Mashu National Park
(3) Promote events as a hook to attract visitors
Combine tourism with art, sports, theme park-related events, etc., to attract visitors from all over Japan. Japanese food and culture, international art festivals, and large-scale international sports events will be utilized.
(4) Strategic promotion, CIQ (Customs, Immigration, Quarantine), etc.
Strategically promote the restart of tourism in Japan using social media, TV commercials, etc. Also, promote the improvement of entry points into Japan, including by further upgrading the CIQ system, in preparation for the resumption of international flights.
According to the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), the number of foreign visitors to Japan in 2022 was approximately 3.83 million, a rapid recovery of more than 15 times compared to the previous year. Although still only 10% of the pre-Covid figure for 2019, further recovery in the number of foreign visitors to Japan is expected, supported by the impact of the yen's depreciation.
The content of the package suggests that the Japanese government will develop a tourism strategy that makes the most of Japan's unique characteristics, and we look forward to this and will continue to closely monitor the Japanese government's moves to re-launch tourism.