Chinese tourism to Japan rises 11.7% despite new tax as visa process goes digital

More Chinese tourists are visiting Japan despite the introduction of a new departure tax thanks to extra flights and online visa applications.

Visitor numbers rose 11.7 percent year on year to 4.5 million in the first half, according to statistics from Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

Most of Japan's visitors come from China. They are also the biggest spenders, generating JPY895 billion (USD8.3 billion) in revenue in the first six months.

With only one year left to go before the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the Japanese government has pledged to increase the number of overseas tourists to 40 million by 2020 and 60 million by 2030.

Japan introduced a new departure tax of JPY1,000 (USD9.20) at the beginning of the year, applicable to all travelers leaving the country, but this has done little to dent tourism numbers. Overseas tourists rose 4.6 percent to 16.6 million, and their spending hit new heights, climbing 8.3 percent to JPY2.4 trillion (USD22 billion).

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