- Chinese accounted for 47% of the spending in third quarter
- Slide in the yen, looser visa rules luring overseas vistors
Foreign tourists to Japan spent a record 1 trillion yen ($8.3 billion) in the three months through September as Chinese visitors -- encouraged by a weaker yen -- continued to splash their cash.
The number of visitors rose to 5.35 million, up 54 percent from the third quarter of 2014, the Japan Tourism Agency said Wednesday. Not only are more people going to Japan, but they are spending more, with the average person using about 187,000 yen per trip -- a rise of 18 percent.
Chinese tourists accounted for 47 percent of the spending -- an average of about 281,000 yen per person -- followed by visitors from Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea.
A relaxation of visa restrictions is helping to lure visitors, and the Japanese currency’s slide makes it cheaper for foreigners to snap up duty-free products and stay in the nation’s hotels.
Diplomatic ties between the governments in Tokyo and Beijing have also thawed in recent months.
With the world’s third-largest economy stalling, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is betting that overseas tourists will take up some of the slack. He’s targeting a rise in international visitors to 30 million by 2030, from the 12.9 million that came in the first eight months of 2015.
Yoshihide Suga, the government’s top spokesman, told reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday that the figures are proof of the need for further administrative and regulatory reforms in Japan.