With 28 million tourists palling through Japan this year and 40 million expected for 2020, Japan is seeing an explosion in tourism that has frankly taken the locals by surprise. There is what is called a downside in this new explosive industry, that is “Kanko Kogai” or tourism position. It is important to put this in context, there are 1os of millions of tourists visiting Japan and it is growing by 20 percent or more each year. This is a wonderful growth business and of course is surely supporting the retail businesses in Tokyo and Osaka.
Please see our audiovisual presentation on tourism.
One of our partners recently visited a shoe store, a retail outlet in Harajuku. The manager at this story said that in terms of customer flow, 40 percent of sales were to Japanese, 40 percent to Chinese/Asians and 20 percent to US and Europeans buying shores in Japan. This store is a European brand and has sizes to fit all, and the manager has 2 staff who are Japanese Kiko-shijo (Japanese who lived abroad) and are excellent English speakers and one Chinese speaker from Beijing.
Still, despite spending money in stores, these tourists sometimes have bad manners and are not obeying Japanese customs. They are eating on pubic streets (as opposed in restaurants), and some are discarding trash on the streets. Japan is a nation that follows strict codes with regards to pubic awareness, especially with regards to keeping the streets spotless. Japanese take great pride in clean streets and sidewalks.
One local from Kyoto complained that the number of foreign tourists who visit his city has increased and are destroying the local atmosphere called “Miyabi” which loosely translates as the refined culture of Kyoto.
This tourism pollution will only increase in the coming years, with the Olympics, G20 and World Cup of Rugby schedule in the next 24 months. Japan will continue to be overwhelmed with tourists.