The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)’s statistics for 2017 reveal that Japan received 7,355,800 visitors from China (+15.4% year on year), 2,231,500 from Hong Kong (+21.3%), 7,140,200 from South Korea (+40.3%), and 4,564,100 from Taiwan (+9.5%). The total number of visitors from the four markets totaled 21,292,000 (+21.9%), which accounted for 74.2% of all international visitors of 28,691,000.
The graphs below illustrate the changes in the number of visitors from the four markets considered in the last decade:
In December 2017 only, Japan received 564,300 visitors from China (+32.0% year on year), 307,200 from Hong Kong (+9.2%), 678,900 from South Korea (+37.3%), and 319,500 from Taiwan (+14.6%). The monthly result of South Korea was record-high on a single month basis, and the monthly results of the other three markets record-high respectively for December.
The graphs below illustrate the changes in the number of visitors from the four markets considered during the last 12 months:
The South Korea market was stable with 400,000 to 600,000 visitors a month through 2017 and became the top market exceeding China in five months, particularly with 100,000 more visitors in December 2017. JNTO developed a variety of campaigns targeting the South Korean market to encourage consumers to visit Japan.
In the China market, FIT had increased since the visa rule was eased in May, and also an increase in port calls of cruise ships boosted the market. As a result, visitors from China broke the previous record in every month. JNTO tried to increase regular travelers through appealing of theme-oriented travels, partnership with OTA and influencer marketing.
In Taiwan, successive promotional activities by JNTO, increases in charter flights and ports in Japan for cruise ships contributed to expansion of the market, though the air seat supply between Japan and Taiwan reduced in 2017 compared to the previous year.
For Hong Kong, JNTO focused on promoting Hokkaido, Tohoku and Chubu regions and also appealing purpose-oriented travels like wedding tourism.