BCCJ think tank talks responsible tourism

Aug. 21, 2019

Japan’s tourism boom has delivered record numbers of overseas visitors, rising from 10 million in 2013 to 20 million in 2016 to 30 million in 2018. 

The influx has provided a welcome boost to the economy. Nationally, travel and tourism’s contribution to GDP reached 7.4% in 2018 and, in some regions, overseas visitors’ spending is helping bring jobs to communities. But the influx also leaves Japan grappling with issues such as overcrowding at popular historical sites and a lack of tourism infrastructure.

With a government target of 40 million international visitors by 2020 and 60 million by 2030, how can Japan ready itself? How can it benefit economically while avoiding the social and environmental impact of overtourism? And, how can regions outside the “golden triangle” of Tokyo–Kyoto–Osaka get more of the tourism pie?

With these issues in mind, the BCCJ held its inaugural “Travel Tourism Think Tank: Responsible Tourism” on July 29 in Tokyo. 

Potential for tourism growth 

Hiroshi Yamashita, manager of the overseas promotion department at the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO), opened the event by highlighting the rapid growth in international visitors to Japan. The majority are from East Asia, principally China, South Korea and Taiwan.