There may only be one or two IRs established in the smaller, regional areas of Japan in the 2020s, but current trends in the tourism industry offer them an encouraging outlook.
The government’s latest White Paper on Tourism records the fact that foreign tourists staying overnight in parts of the country other than the major urban areas between Tokyo and Osaka reached more than 40 percent for the first time last year. The government aims to boost this proportion to over 50 percent by the time of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Ruth Jarman, founder and CEO of Jarman International, which does professional consulting for inbound tourism, tells Asia Gaming Brief that she expects the trend to accelerate in the coming years.
Not only are the central government and the various local governments making efforts to diversify patterns of foreign tourist visitation, but factors such as overcrowding at the better-known sites and the fact that many tourists are now making return visits to Japan means that these policies are set to succeed.
“Now the tourists themselves are the ones looking to go places other than the main places,” Jarman observes.
Indeed, she notes that for several years the Japan National Tourism Organization has been holding seminars for people in local areas to help them become “psychologically ready for the influx of tourists,” and this is paying off. Local areas are now proactively offering more information to online tourism information aggregators.