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2020.05.21

【Aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan】No.222: COVID-19's impact on the tourism industry

In this column series, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Research Director at CIGS introduces the latest information about aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan with data of international comparison.

As shown in Column No. 76, the number of foreign visitors in Japan increased from 6.2 million in 2011 to 28.7 million in 2017 as a result of the government's measures to attract foreign tourists. This number continued to increase steadily, reaching 31.9 million in 2019; of that figure, 28.3 million were tourists and 3.6 million were non-tourist visitors. However, as shown in Figure 1, due to the spread of COVID-19, the number of foreign visitors fell to 193,700 in March 2020. Among them, foreign tourists are estimated to be almost zero.

As shown in Column No. 154, the amount of foreign tourist consumption in Japan increased from JPY 814 billion in 2011 to JPY 4,519 billion in 2018. According to Japan Tourism Agency's estimate, the amount in 2019 was JPY 4,811 billion (Figure 2). However, this is expected to drop sharply in 2020. On the other hand, the amount of Japanese consumption of domestic travel was estimated to be JPY 21,911 billion in 2019. This number is also expected to decrease significantly in 2020 due to the voluntary movement restraint requested by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Once the COVID-19 turmoil has ended and normal economic activity has resumed, tourists are expected to return. However, there is still a fear that the bankruptcies of tourism-related companies and self-employed people will increase sharply in the future.



Figure 1 Number of foreign visitors

20200519_matsuyama_222_fig01.png*Please click the table image to find the original size image.

(Source: Japan Tourism Agency)


Figure 2 Foreign tourist consumption

20200519_matsuyama_222_fig02.png*Please click the table image to find the original size image.

(Source: Japan Tourism Agency)

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