Govt: High Value-Added Tourism Key

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Overseas tourists and other visitors walk along Nakamisedori street in the Asakusa district of Tokyo in May 14.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The government on Tuesday reported that spending by tourists in the country has been recovering from a slump caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, while also pointing out the need to pursue high value-added tourism.

As Japan substantially relaxed its pandemic-related border restrictions in October last year, spending by foreign visitors to the country recovered to ¥1,014.6 billion in January-March 2023, about 90% of the same period in 2019, according to the 2023 white paper on tourism, adopted at the day’s Cabinet meeting.

Annual domestic travel spending by Japanese in 2022 increased nearly 90% from the previous year to about ¥17.2 trillion.

Meanwhile, the annual government report also showed that Japan’s tourism gross domestic product ratio, or the ratio of the tourism industry’s added value amount to the overall economy, stood at 2.0% in 2019, far below the average of 4.0% for the Group of Seven advanced countries excluding Japan.

Tourism GDP is calculated by subtracting the amount of costs from the tourism industry’s overall revenues. To increase this, it is necessary to boost spending per tourist.

As specific measures, the white paper cited enhancing customer satisfaction by remodeling guest rooms at accommodation facilities, including installing private open-air baths and providing high-quality services based on analyses of customer data.