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Japan’s campaign to revive domestic tourism sparks controversy

TOKYO (Xinhua) -- The Japanese government has recently proposed to help the tourism industry through the current difficulties by boosting domestic tourism which, seen as a source of economic growth, has been in trouble since the start of the year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

A shopping mall is temporarily closed in Tokyo’s Harajuku district, Japan.     --Photo Xinhua

However, in the context of the recent resurgence of the pandemic in Japan, the promotion of tourism has sparked controversy. Experts have said the outbreak is likely to persist for a long time, and fighting the epidemic while promoting tourism recovery is bound to be difficult. The recovery of Japan’s tourism industry may be a long process, they said.
Since the beginning of this year, the number of foreigners visiting Japan has dropped sharply due to the epidemic, and domestic travel by Japanese citizens has also stagnated. Accommodation, catering, transport and tourism-related retail and souvenir production are facing an extremely difficult condition, with related unemployment and bankruptcies rising rapidly.
The number of foreign visitors to Japan fell 58.3 percent in February and 93 percent in March from a year earlier, according to the government’s tourism bureau. The number of foreign visitors fell to 2,600 in June, down 99.9 percent year-on-year. Japanese citizens also spent significantly less on domestic travel. By the end of 2019, domestic travel by Japanese citizens had been the mainstay of Japan’s tourism market. According to the Japan Tourism Agency of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japanese people spent about 23.2 trillion yen (US$216.7 billion) on domestic travel in 2019, accounting for more than 80 percent of Japan’s tourism market.

(Latest Update
July 21
, 2020

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