As of today (July 1st), Japan has significantly relaxed the visa restrictions for tourists allowing the single fastest-growing group of overseas travelers, the Chinese, to be able to travel to Japan. These new regulations will enable another 16 million households to be able to apply for a trip to Japan. This is 10 times the amount of tourist visas that were available before the new regulations. Up to now, Japan had strict regulations regarding visitors from their neighbor to the west; only allowing wealthy Chinese with high annual incomes to travel to Japan. The massive influx of Chinese travelers will hopefully result in a jump in income for many local shopping centers in Japan.
Based on statistics from last year, spending by Chinese and other foreign tourist’s has risen 50% from just a year ago. This is a promising sign for a country that has seen a 27 month straight decline in department-store sales. Many businesses are adapting to the Chinese taste and preparing for the influx of the high spending Chinese consumers by hiring more staff that speak Chinese. This trend of increasing sales for business in Japan is a great sign for things to come and hopefully this will continue in the coming years.