According to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) 2023 Economic Impact Research (EIR), Japan’s Travel & Tourism sector is expected to contribute USD 285.5 billion (JPY 37.6 trillion) to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) this year.

This amount is only 6.8% below the 2019 pre-pandemic maximum of USD 306.5 billion (JPY 40.3 trillion), and by the end of the year, the sector could account for 6.8% of the total economy.

Despite the pandemic’s effects lasting until 2023 in Japan, WTTC predicts that the sector will create approximately 470,000 job opportunities this year, bringing the total to nearly 5.6 million. This implies that approximately one in twelve workers in Japan are employed directly or indirectly in the Travel and Tourism industry.

Even though the sector still lacks 300,000 positions to return to pre-pandemic levels, by the end of this year it will be only 5.2% below 2019 levels.

The expenditures of international tourists in Japan are anticipated to increase by 553.4% this year to reach USD 16.8 billion (JPY 2.2 trillion), which is still 57.6% below the 2019 apex.

A review of the past year

The sector’s contribution to the economy increased by 50.5% to more than USD 257 billion (JPY 33.9 trillion) and 6.2% of the economy last year.

In 2022, compared to the previous year, the sector added nearly 5.1 million jobs, or one in every thirteen jobs in Japan.

The effects of extended travel restrictions continued to stifle the sector in 2022, resulting in a decline in international visitor spending in Japan. The expenditures of international visitors fell by more than 31 percent and remained 93.5% below 2019 levels.

In 2018, domestic visitor expenditures increased by 61.6%, returning to 2019 levels within 0.2%.

Julia Simpson, President & CEO of the WTTC, stated, “Travel & Tourism is a significant contributor to Japan’s economic growth and employment creation. As citizens begin to travel again, we anticipate a significant uptick for the global Travel & Tourism industry.

“This sector’s economic cascading effect is astounding. It stimulates the creation of jobs, including those for tour guides, hotel personnel, local artisans, and transportation providers.

“International travel will be necessary for the long-awaited economic recovery. We must cultivate and support this industry by discovering novel methods to attract tourists and ensure their comfort. By doing so, we not only promote the economy, but also support local communities and livelihoods.”

Chairman of the Board of JTB Corporation Hiroyuki Takahashi stated, “As the global demand to visit Japan is exceedingly high and growing, JTB Corporation is collaborating with the public and private sectors to develop new tourist attractions in rural areas.

“Adventure tourism would be the innovative driver to address these demands and challenges.”With a commitment to sustainability, innovation, and unforgettable experiences, we envision Japan’s Travel & Tourism industry thriving in the future.”

Isao Takashiro, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of JAT, stated, “Thanks to the government’s efforts and a resurgence in travel demand, the number of domestic terminal passengers has returned to pre-pandemic levels. This remarkable recovery demonstrates the endurance of our industry.

He added that despite obstacles, Haneda Airport’s international terminal is on schedule to surpass 18 million passengers by the end of this year. We anticipate exceeding 25 million passengers by 2025 as a result of increased slots and capacity, as well as anticipated demand growth.

As an essential gateway to Japan, we remain committed to enhancing the passenger experience through the addition of new international flight facilities and appealing commercial amenities.

South Korea (24%), mainland China (10%), Taiwan, China (10%), the United States (8%) and Hong Kong, China (7%) were the primary source markets for international visitors to Japan in 2022.

How does the next decade appear?

The global tourism organisation predicts that the sector’s GDP contribution will increase to USD 353.4 billion (JPY 46.5 trillion) by 2033, accounting for nearly 8% of the Japanese economy, and will employ 6.7 million people across the country, with one in ten Japanese residents employed in the sector.


The Asia-Pacific Travel & Tourism sector contributed USD 1.6 trillion to the regional economy in 2022, which was 50% less than its 2019 peak. WTTC forecasts that the sector’s contribution to the region’s GDP will surpass USD 2.6 trillion in 2023, just 16% below the 2019 peak.

In 2022, the sector employed more than 155 million individuals throughout the region, an increase of 8.7 million from the previous year but still 15% below pre-pandemic levels. WTTC predicts that the sector will regain all employment lost during the pandemic by the end of 2024 or the start of 2025.

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