Surpassing Pre-COVID Levels: Japan Welcomes 2.52 Million Visitors in October
On November 15th, official data was released for October inbound tourist visits to Japan that surpassed pre-pandemic levels, marking a significant rebound since the relaxation of border controls began last year.
Foreign visitors rose to 2.52 million for October 2023, reaching 100.8% of pre-Covid October 2019 levels.
Factors included eased border measures and the weak yen.
Recovery in international flights also aided October's surge, notably from Canada, Mexico, and Germany.
Despite slow recovery from China, Japan has welcomed nearly 20 million visitors in 2023's first ten months.
According to the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), foreign visitors on both business and leisure reached 2.52 million last month, showing a rise from 2.18 million in September.
Visitor numbers have now reached 100.8% of the levels recorded in October of 2019, before the COVID-19 outbreak prompted global travel restrictions.
Japan lifted some of its stringent border measures in October 2022, resuming visa-free travel for numerous countries and eventually eliminating all remaining controls by May 2023.
For the past five consecutive months leading up to October 2023, arrivals consistently exceeded 2 million per month; a boost partially attributed to the weakened yen, making Japan an appealing and affordable destination.
The October figures were bolstered by international flight recoveries to 80% of pre-pandemic levels and robust demand from various regions like Southeast Asia, North America, Europe, and Australia, as highlighted by the JNTO.
Particularly, travelers from Canada, Mexico, and Germany reached unprecedented highs for any given month.
While visitors from mainland China continue to recover slowly and remain 65% below October 2019 numbers, arrivals from other countries have contributed significantly.
In 2019, Chinese visitors accounted for almost a third of all visitors and 40% of tourist spending in Japan.
Data from the JNTO illustrates that approximately 20 million visitors arrived in Japan during the first 10 months of 2023, compared to the record-high of around 32 million in the entire year of 2019.