Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/11/2012 -- The Japan Tourism Report examines the long-term potential offered by the tourism industry, but highlights the potential downward pressure that the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 had on its arrival numbers as it continues to recover.
Japan's arrival numbers have grown steadily since 2001. Although they took a hit in 2009, falling to 6.79mn after reaching 8.35mn in 2008, arrivals then began to slowly rebound in 2010, reaching 6.85mn. BMI has adjusted its arrivals data based on new sources and now forecasts a slower rebound from the global economic crisis and the tsunami and earthquake in 2011. As a result of the devastating earthquake that hit Tohoku on March 11 2011 and the tsunami and nuclear crisis that followed, we cut our outlook for Japan's tourism industry in 2011 and 2012. We now estimate arrivals increased only slightly in 2011 to 6.99mn and forecast a slight decline to 6.94mn in 2012. Arrivals are forecast to eventually reach 10.94mn by 2016. Although arrivals to Japan fell by 57% year-on-year (y-o-y) in April 2011, according to the Japanese Tourism Agency (JTA) arrivals in January 2012 recovered to nearly the same level as year ago, demonstrating that the industry is rebounding quickly.
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The number of air and sea tourist arrivals continually increased between 2001 and 2007. Tourist arrivals by air were by far the most predominant, with 8.49mn arriving by air in 2007, compared to 666,000 by sea. Leisure arrivals outnumber those visiting Japan for business purposes.
Japan is targeting Chinese tourists and has eased visa regulations for Chinese citizens. Until 2009, visas were only granted to individual Chinese travellers with an annual income of at least CNY250,000 (US$36,600). Given that this is a large sum for most Chinese workers, visitors tended to travel as part of a tour group. However, Japan has lowered the threshold of annual income to CNY60,000 (US$8,780). To deal with the rise in visa applications, all seven Japanese diplomatic offices in China will accept applications, instead of just three previously, and the number of Chinese tour agencies eligible to apply for visas for their customers has increased from 48 to 290.
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