Hong Kong visitors to Japan decline for 1st time in 7 years

17, Jan. 2019

A tram running on Hong Kong Island on Jan. 16 carries an advertisement for Iwate Prefecture in northeastern Japan, which was hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
A tram running on Hong Kong Island on Jan. 16 carries an advertisement for Iwate Prefecture in northeastern Japan, which was hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

HONG KONG, NNA – The number of Hong Kong visitors to Japan dropped for the first time in seven years in 2018, mainly deterred by a string of natural disasters, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

The number fell 1.1 percent to an estimated 2,207,900 from a record 2,231,568 in 2017, data released Wednesday by the government agency.

Hong Kong, with a population of about seven million, ranked fourth on the list of foreign visitors to Japan, after China with 8,380,100, South Korea with 7,539,000 and Taiwan with 4,757,300.

JNTO said the main reason for the decrease was a spate of natural disasters last year. Major earthquakes struck Osaka in the west on June 18 and Hokkaido in the north on Sept. 6. Heavy rains caused casualties and damage to western Japanese cities in July.

Last year, Japan saw a record 31,191,900 foreign visitors, with no declines for any other country or region.

Hong Kong visitors to Japan are expected to increase to 2,500,000 this year, barring natural disasters or appreciation of the Japanese currency beyond the current exchange rate of about 14 yen to the Hong Kong dollar, or about HK$7 per 100 yen, CN Yuen, managing director of Package Tours (Hong Kong) Ltd., told NNA.

“As Hong Kong people have repeatedly visited Japan, they are used to searching for local information by themselves. Now we also offer a wider variety of travel products,” Yuen said.

Photo caption:

A tram running on Hong Kong Island on Jan. 16 carries an advertisement for Iwate Prefecture in northeastern Japan, which was hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.