Japan's inbound tourism has made a dramatic comeback since its opening,
with the country now seeing a massive resurgence of visitor numbers,
said Shinya “Billy” Kurosawa, president and CEO of JTB Global Marketing & Travel.
January 2023, the recovery ratio for Japan’s tourism industry stood at
about 56%, including China mainland. Excluding China, the recovery ratio
was at 76%, said Kurosawa, speaking to Travel Weekly Asia at ITB
Kurosawa further shared that tourists are also spending more time in
Japan, leading to a higher consumption ratio per person. Inflation in
Japan is still relatively low, making the country an affordable
destination for travellers. Although hotel rates are rising due to the
high number of visitors, tourists are still spending money in Japan.
a shortage of manpower across the tourism industry is making it
difficult for hotels to adjust their occupancy ratios. While occupancy
rates at major hotels in Tokyo currently hover around 70%, they are
struggling to meet the demands of visitors amid staff shortage in
various departments such as F&B and housekeeping.
Despite these challenges, the demand for tourism in Japan is higher
than ever, with bookings for the upcoming cherry blossom season breaking
records for JTB Group. The Japanese travel giant identifies Europe, the
US, Latin America, and Asia (especially for high-end travel) as its key
markets for inbound travel to Japan. Tourists from Southeast Asia,
particularly Singapore, are showing a strong interest in travelling to
Air connectivity to Japan has also improved significantly, with a
current rate of 40% compared to 2019, including flights from China. This
rate is expected to increase as Chinese tourists return in full force
by April or May.
predicts that Japan's tourism industry will return to normal by the end
of 2023. However, the lack of manpower remains a persistent issue that
needs to be resolved to provide high-quality services to all visitors.
"The prevailing problem that needs to be solved now is that the lack
of manpower in the tourism industry," Kurosawa said. "We do care about
the quantity of travellers coming in, but we also have to ensure and
maintain the quality of services in order to effectively cater to all