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Thursday, 1st November 2012
In Business In Japan,

Kyushu leads tourism turnaround in Japan

Tourism numbers are starting to rebound in Japan with Kyushu showing particularly prominent growth.

A record number of foreign visitors arrived between March and July this year with Kyushu proving to be particularly popular with the tourists. According to the Japan Times one of the main factors driving tourists into the country is the cruise industry, which is becoming a popular means of travel among well-to-do Chinese.

Kyushu's main ports of Hakata in Fukuoka Prefecture and Nagasaki are increasingly busy with cruise liners docking from China, and projections show that the only way is up for the industry. Tours generally leave Shanghai to South Korea and Japan and then go back to China, Hiroyuki Yoshida, a director of tourism promotion in the city of Fukuoka told the newspaper.

"The Chinese cruise ship tour market is growing, as European and US lines have recently been actively promoting such tours," he said. "They have increased the number of ships and started utilizing bigger cruise ships in Asia."

Costa Crociere has upgraded the vessel making the trips from a capacity of 1,700 people to 2,400 passengers, sailing its Costa Victoria liner to the Asian market. Other cruise liners have also taken considerable interest in the market, with Royal Caribbean Cruises sailing its Voyager of the Seas vessel on the route which can accommodate more than 3,000 people.

This explosive growth in the cruise market has propelled Kyushu into the limelight, becoming a very popular destination based largely on its geographical position.  According to the Justice Ministry, the number of foreign visitors to Kyushu between March and July this year set records every month, with 115,558 foreign visitors in July, up 100.4 per cent from 2011 and 25.1 per cent from 2010.

The number aids the national figure which is also climbing, up to 6.3 million foreign visitors between January and September. That compares to 4.5 million in 2011 and in 6.6 million in 2010.

Posted by Graham McPherson

Related news stories:
Revival of tourism could be key to quake-hit Kyushu's recovery (31st May 2016)
Luxury trains to be introduced in Kyushu (23rd February 2011)