The total number of tourists to Japan is down 23.1% during the first ten months of 2009 compared with the first ten months of 2008, a report on Nov. 25th by the Japan National Tourist Organization stated.
The report indicates that in the first ten months of 2008, approximately 7.28 million international visitors came to Japan. During the same time period this year just under only 5.60 million visited. The numbers of Japanese going abroad have also decreased, however less noticeable from 13.45 million to 12.87 million travelers, or about 4.3%.
While the last 15 months continuing have reported decreases, the good news for Japan is between August, September, and October, the average decrease was only around 12%.
For the month of October, the total changed from 2008 to 2009 was about -11.3%. The majority of it was from travelers in South Korea (-30.6% to 131,100), Taiwan (-22.5% to 97,900), and Hong Kong (-12.6% to 39,800). Changes from major English speaking countries were not large. The USA dropped 2.1% to 66,600 visitors, Australia increased 9.3% to 19,900, Canada increased 2.1% to 14,500, and the UK dropped 12.0% to 18,300. Due largely to the removal of visa restrictions in China, the numbers of Chinese tourist to Japan increase 25.1% to 108,300.
The overall decrease this year is being blamed on the world recession and the current strength of the yen, among other causes, according a report from Jiji.com.
Unfortunately, while one might expect decreased numbers to lead to discount, the strength of the yen may negate advantages for international travelers to Japan. If the Japanese are also doing less international in place of national travel, travelers might not see huge changes in numbers at tourist spots, either.