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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 12:32 11/10/2008
News Review #471: November 10, 2008

Mighty Yen Scares Off the Tourists

Reviewed by Takahiro MIYAO

Mighty Yen Scares Off the Tourists
The Japan Times (11/09/2008)


As it is reported in the Japan Times article linked above, the sharply rising yen is adversely affecting the Japanese economy in various ways these days. One of the hardest hit areas is tourism, as the number of foreign visitors to Japan in September declined about 7 percent compared to the same month last year. The decline this time is greater than that during the period of avian flu epidemic around 2003, and the situation seems to be getting worse, unless the yen stops rising and turns around soon, which is unlikely due to the global financial crisis still under way. Needless to say, the total amount of money spent by foreign tourists should be decreasing faster than the decline in the number of them, affecting many local economies severely.

The problem here is the lack of infrastructure to promote tourism in local regions, if not in big cities like Tokyo and Osaka. Although there may be some potential visitors to local towns and villages with beautiful sceneries, very few accommodations for foreign tourists are available, because Japanese traditional inns are not willing to entertain foreigners, according to a recent government survey. Recent establishment of the government’s tourist agency is considered "too little too late," because much more aggressive measures are urgently needed to offset, if not reverse, the declining tendency in the number of foreign visitors due to the rapidly rising yen under the present circumstance. Business is not as usual these days.

As suggested in the concluding part of this Japan Times article, it is about time for local, neighboring regions to cooperate with each other to lure tourists from some affluent Asian cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore and share information and resources to make those tourists spend more time and money in those regions, offering diverse services to them. In other words, strong promotional strategies with local initiatives and cooperation are essential in the survival of not only local regions but also the nation as a whole in time of the unprecedented global crisis.

This review is adopted from the following blog (with its Japanese translation):

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