Japan welcomed more than 2 million international visitors for the fourth consecutive month in September.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
International tourists are returning to Japan and visitor numbers are almost reaching pre-pandemic levels, according to government data.
While this is good news for the country’s tourism industry and hospitality sectors, which have struggled with Japan’s slow post-COVID-19 reopening, the numbers are putting a strain on people living there.
The country’s tourism minister has announced new prevention measures to deal with the problems of overtourism.
Plans include boosting transportation systems in major cities and encouraging visitors to diversify their destinations.
Tourist numbers rocket in Japan
Japan welcomed 2 million international visitors for the fourth consecutive month in September, according to data from the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO).
This number is equivalent to more than 96 percent of the levels seen in 2019, before the pandemic led to worldwide travel restrictions.
The influx of visitors has already caused problems. But Mount FujiConcerns about pollution and safety are growing as human traffic jams clog the slopes.
Japan to introduce measures to tackle overtourism
Now, officials in Japan have outlined plans to reduce the problematic effects of mass tourism.
One step is to strengthen infrastructure – particularly by expanding Bus and taxi fleets – to better cope with the number of visitors to popular cities.
Taxi companies in some hotspots are struggling to cope with demand. The government hopes to promote areas that see significant growth of tourists in certain periods, such as Niseko and Hokkaido during the ski season.
Japan considering making bus fares more expensive to fight overtourism
Another proposal is to establish direct bus routes From major stations to popular tourist destinations especially for tourists.
Alternatively, officials have suggested raising fare prices during peak hours to encourage travel during non-peak hours.
Tourists encouraged to explore less visited areas in Japan
The Tourism Ministry has also highlighted the need to expand Japan’s tourism away from congested hotspots such as Tokyo and Kyoto.
The proposal would build on plans announced earlier this year to help develop tourism in 11 ‘model destinations’ including Ise-shima in Mie Prefecture and eastern Hokkaido.
The scheme will help officers in their promotion Natural and rural attractions to reduce stress on honeypot sites.
Japanese city implements new tourist tax
In a separate move, the western Japanese city of Hatsukaichi is implementing a new tourist tax,
The city in Hiroshima Prefecture is home to the centuries-old Itsukushima Shrine, one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Since October 1, visitors to the temple on Miyajima Island have been charged 100 yen (€0.60).
“We are responsible for preserving nature, history and culture and passing them on to the next generations,” said Shunji Mukai, an official at the city’s planning and coordination division for Miyajima.