Japan sees record spending by tourists in 2023

Spending by international visitors to Japan reached record levels in 2023, despite the number of inbound travellers reaching only 79 per cent of the 31.88 million who arrived in 2019.

According to the Japan National Tourism Organization, Japan welcomed last year 25.06 million inbound tourists, who spent 5.29 trillion yen (US$35. 1 billion), up 10 per cent from the 4.81 trillion yen spent in 2019.

Spending by international visitors reached record levels in Japan last year

Taiwanese arrivals comprised the largest share (14.7 per cent) of total tourism expenditure, with 778.6 billion yen in spending. In second place was China, with 14.4 per cent of total spending, despite its arrivals totalling only 2.42 million or 25 per cent of 2019 levels.

Visitors from South Korea increased 25 per cent compared to 2019 data and comprised 14.1 per cent of total consumption. Travellers from the US and Hong Kong also made up a significant share: 11.5 per cent and 9.1 per cent, respectively.

There was increased spending by visitors of all target countries, with average capita spend 34 per cent higher than in 2019. Some countries’ visitors were particularly big spenders, such as Spain, with 342,000 yen spend per traveller, and Australia, with 341,000 yen spend per traveller.

Accommodation made up the largest share of expenditure, taking over shopping, which was the leading segment in 2019. Still, major Japanese retailers report that autumn 2023 was their most profitable period since 2019, thanks to greater duty-free spending, particularly for watches, cosmetics and luxury goods, by overseas visitors.

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