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Thursday, 9th February 2012
In Japan Travel News,

Japan targets 18m tourists by 2016

A five-year tourism plan issued by Japan is aiming to attract 18 million visitors to the country's shores by 2016.

Following the publication of a draft copy of the proposals, the Japan Times reported that the plans are expected to get cabinet approval for implementation at the beginning of the next financial year.

In 2010 a record number of travellers visited Japan, with 8.61 million foreigners entering the country.

However, this number fell by more than a quarter to 6.22 million last year, with Japanese authorities believing that inaccurate information following the tsunami, earthquake and subsequent nuclear problems had discouraged visitors.

Under the new proposals, a new partnership aims to distribute accurate information that will encourage visitors once more, with Japan setting a target of 30 trillion yen to be spent by travellers.

The new five-year plan also aims to increase the average trip length to 2.5 nights, up from the average 2.12 nights during the record year in 2010, while also encouraging visitors to travel to areas beyond the traditionally-visited cities of Tokyo, Chiba, Osaka and Kyoto.

It is hoped that the number of overnight stays beyond these four cities can be raised to 24 million, 2.4 times the number achieved in 2010.

Repeat travellers from nearby South Korea will be one target for the new policy, while the plans also propose the idea of bringing a number of picturesque national parks along the Pacific coast together, to create a single vast park that would spur tourist numbers.

Part of the plan also includes encouraging young Japanese citizens to travel abroad themselves, with a target of 20 million travellers laid down by the proposals.

This year the Japanese ski resort of Niseko has experienced an exceptional year of snow, with skiers and snowboarders from across the world heading there to enjoy the notorious quantities of powder snow it is famous for.

Written by Susan Ballion