Japan seeking twice the number of tourists to boost the economy
On Wednesday Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set the objective of doubling by 2020 the number of tourists visiting the archipelago, and the amount of money they spend there, in order to revive a stagnant economy.
Since he took office at the end of 2012, the Prime Minister has relaxed the requirements for securing a visa for several Asian countries, notably generating an influx of Chinese visitors.
Abe now wants to do more, chiefly exploiting the appeal of the summer Olympic Games which Tokyo will host in 2020. In a press release the government explained that it aims to attract 40 million visitors per year, i.e. double that of last year. In 2015, tourists spent JPY3.5 trillion (€27.8 billion) in Japan.
Shinzo Abe wants to increase this figure to JPY8 trillion by 2020, mainly by further relaxing the requirements for obtaining visas and by improving the country's air transport services, the press release stated.
"Today we have a new vision for tourism," declared the Prime Minister after a meeting with some of his government's cabinet heads. "Tourism plays a crucial role in our strategy to boost economic growth, revitalise regional economies and increase our GDP to JPY600 trillion."
The policy of economic reforms implemented by Shinzo Abe is slow in bearing fruit, and Japan needs to deal with shrinking internal demand and its population's decline.
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