Big winter ahead as international arrivals to Japan rise!
As of October 2023, foreign tourism in Japan has exceeded pre-COVID levels. The number of foreign visitors, including those traveling for business and leisure, reached 2.52 million in October, surpassing the 2.18 million recorded in September. This marked a significant recovery compared to earlier in the year. For instance, in June 2023, Japan welcomed around 2.07 million foreign visitors, the highest figure since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
These numbers represent a full recovery compared to 2019 levels. In October 2023, visitor numbers were 100.8% of the levels seen in 2019, before the outbreak of COVID-19 led to international travel curbs. To put this into perspective, July 2023 saw about 2.3 million foreign entries, which was 78% of the pre-pandemic level. The October figures thus indicate a continued upward trend and the first time that monthly visitor numbers have surpassed pre-pandemic levels, with an increase of 0.8% compared to October 2019.
The highest growth was seen in visitors from South-East Asia and North America. Visitors from Canada, Mexico, US, Singapore, and the Philippines also reached historic highs for the month of October.
Meanwhile, visitors from mainland China are down 65% from 2019, with 256,300 arrivals. Visitors from South Korea comprised 25% of tourists. In second spot was Taiwan, comprising 17% of the total.
This recovery in tourism is a significant milestone for Japan, considering the strict border measures it had implemented during the pandemic. There is also still significant upside space once Chinese visitors return in number and once all pre-pandemic flight routes are back up to normal.