GCC drives strong recovery in Japanese inbound tourism

DUBAI: The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) is pleased to announce a significant recovery in inbound tourism to Japan, led by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Along with countries such as Singapore, Vietnam, the US and Mexico, the GCC region has also seen a strong recovery in visitor numbers, reaffirming Japan’s enduring appeal as a top travel destination.

In the first half of this year, a total of 13,537 GCC nationals visited Japan. This is very close to the 2019 figure of 13,582, indicating a strong renewed interest in Japan among GCC tourists. Furthermore, arrivals from countries such as Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain surpassed 2019 levels, showing a strong recovery in inbound tourism to these markets. *

June 2023 witnessed a major milestone as Japan welcomed 2,073,300 international tourists, equivalent to 72.0% of the June 2019 figure. It was the first time since January 2020 that Japan surpassed 2 million tourists in a single month, signaling a promising rebound in the country’s tourism industry.

In the first half of 2023, the cumulative number of international tourists visiting Japan will reach 10.712 million, exceeding 10 million. The achievement reflects a strong recovery in Japan’s tourism industry, underscoring the country’s enduring appeal to global tourists.

Mr. Daisuke Kobayashi, Executive Director of the Dubai Office of the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), expressed satisfaction with the recovery of tourism in the GCC countries. He attributed the rebound to the recent introduction of visa-free arrangements and online visa applications by some GCC countries, as well as the complete lifting of coronavirus-related border controls in April. In addition, close cooperation with airlines and travel agencies in the region has further enhanced Japan’s status as a preferred leisure destination.

Daisuke Kobayashi, Executive Director of the Dubai Office of the Japan National Tourism Organization:

As summer approaches, Mr. Daisuke Kobayashi invites all visitors to Japan to participate in the upcoming exciting festivals and outdoor activities. For an unforgettable summer festival experience, he recommends heading to the Tohoku region in early August, where the multi-day Sandai Matsuri (three major festivals) are held. Of these, the Nebuta Festival (August 2-7) stands out, with its iconic festival floats paraded through the streets and lit like giant paper lanterns in front of enthusiastic crowds. Likewise, visitors can take part in Sendai’s Tanabata festival (August 6-8), famous for its long colorful ribbons that adorn the city’s shopping malls. The Akita Kanto Festival in Akita Prefecture (August 3-6) features a street parade in which participants carry towers of lanterns mounted on poles, from which the festival gets its name.

Another event not to be missed is the Earth Festival on Sado Island in Niigata Prefecture. The 36th edition will be held in and around Kogi Town from August 18th to 20th and will showcase various guest artists in collaboration with Kodo, an internationally renowned drumming group based on Sado Island. This unique Japanese music festival attracts thousands of people from all over Japan and the world for an extraordinary cultural experience.

Mr. Daisuke Kobayashi warmly invites all GCC tourists to immerse themselves in Japan’s rich cultural heritage, picturesque scenery and warm hospitality. Japan eagerly awaits the return of international tourists to rediscover the wonders it has to offer.

For more information and latest travel updates on traveling to Japan, please visit https://www.japan.travel/en/ or the Arabic-speaking Middle East market dedicated website https://www.japan.travel/ar/AE/

*Data sources: Japan National Tourism Organization tourism statistics (2019 and January-April 2023), Japan Immigration Agency preliminary statistics (May and June 2023).


Arabic-speaking Middle East market dedicated website: https://www.japan.travel/ar/ae/
Dedicated social media accounts for Arabic-speaking Middle Eastern markets: Instagram and Facebook

About the Japan National Tourism Organization

The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) is a government organization that belongs to the same organization as the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and the Japan Tourism Agency. With international offices in major cities around the world, JNTO aims to promote inbound tourism to Japan, providing comprehensive information and unique experiences about Japan.

JNTO is the entity responsible for implementing inbound tourism marketing and promotion in accordance with the national inbound tourism policy. JNTO works to promote Japan as a world-leading tourist destination to the rest of the world, provides support for the planning and sales of tourism products to Japan, develops new sources of tourism revenue, and conducts general on-the-ground activities to attract international tourists, including supporting local communities to promote tourism efforts.

Japan National Tourism Organization Dubai Office
Address: No.806, Shangri-La Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, PO Box 418753 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Email: info_dubai@jnto.go.jp
media inquiries
Mr. Takao Yamamoto
Middle East Representative, Japan National Tourism Organization
Email: tyamamoto@jnto.info

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