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Japan Seeks to Double Foreign Tourist Visits to 60mn Despite Overtourism Concerns

Translator

Ririe Ranggasari

21 June 2024 23:40 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Japan has doubled its target for foreign tourist visits to 60 million a year. Japan's tourism agency said the figure was still achievable despite concerns about overtourism.

Ichiro Takahashi, head of the Japan National Tourism Organization, acknowledged that the previously announced target of 60 million tourists was still difficult, but insisted it was within the realm of possibility. "It's a number we can very well achieve if we make the right efforts," Takahashi said at a briefing in Tokyo.

He said that there are still many little-known places in Japan that are left unexplored by tourists from overseas. "I believe Japan has infinite tourism resources."

Overtourism Concerns

In 2023, Japan attracted over 25 million tourists from abroad, partly due to the lifting of pandemic-era border restrictions. The largest visits came from countries such as South Korea, Singapore and the United States.

This year, more than three million foreign tourists visited Japan for three consecutive months, according to government statistics released Wednesday, June 19

This has reignited concerns over overtourism in recent months, with local residents complaining of how some tourists display unruly behavior and even etiquette breaches.

The government of Himeji City in western Japan is the latest to express its frustration. The city, famous for its World Heritage-listed Himeji Castle, is now considering charging foreigners four times more than locals to enter the castle, local media reported.

"Wooden structures will wear out and become more brittle after many people climb up and down", mayor Hideyasu Kiyomoto told Japanese media, stressing the need to "curb overtourism".

The mayor stated that lokals who use the castle as a community hub shouldn't be charged the same amount as people who only come here once in around 10 years for sightseeing purposes.

Obstructed View of Mount Fuji

One of Japan's icons that is prone to overtourism is Mount Fuji. On Monday, authorities installed a crowd control gate along the volcano's popular trail. Last month, the city of Kawaguchiko placed a large black barrier in front of a convenience store to prevent tourists from crowding the streets to take photos with Mount Fuji in the background.

VN EXPRESS | ECONOMIC TIMES

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