FILIPINOS are among the top visitors to Japan as of July this year, earning the earnest gratefulness of its Ambassador in Manila, Koshikawa Kazuhiko.
Citing data from the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), Kazuhiko posted on X (formerly Twitter): “The Philippines is now the top Asean country for tourist arrivals in Japan. From 37,771 visitors from the Philippines in July 2019, we hosted 51,700 in July 2023—a 36.9-percent year-on-year increase! A big ‘arigatou gozaimasu! to all our Filipino visitors!”
The Philippines is now the top ASEAN country for tourist arrivals in Japan. From 37,771 visitors from 🇵🇭 in July'19, we hosted 51,700 in July'23—a 36.9% year-on-year increase! 📈 A big "arigatou gozaimasu!" to all our Filipino visitors! 🇯🇵❤️🇵🇭 #VisitJapan 🌸🏯🗼 pic.twitter.com/Or4ZJ2SDkI— Ambassador of Japan in the Philippines (@AmbJPNinPH) September 4, 2023
Following the Philippines was Thailand with 49,600 visitors;
Vietnam with 44,800; Indonesia with 28,500; Singapore 25,300; and Malaysia with 17,400. Other Asean countries such as Brunei, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma), and Lao PDR, were not included in the data published by the JNTO.
On a cumulative basis, Filipino visitors to Japan reached 328,800 from January to July this year, already 98.77 percent of the 332,891 who visited in the same period in prepandemic 2019. Thailand sent the most visitors to Japan for the reference period at 547,300, although this was still 28 percent off the same period in 2019. Vietnam was at second at 345,700, or a 17.6-percent increase from the same period in 2019.
Other visitors from Asean included Singapore at 278,800 (up 18 percent); Indonesia 230,200 (down 4.5 percent); and Malaysia at 211,600 (down 19 percent).
In an interview with the BusinessMirror, homemaker Monette G. Co said she has been to Japan six times already. “I keep going back because I feel there’s still so much to see. There are still a lot of places I want to visit.”
She added, “Japan is clean and you feel safe. Despite the language barrier, it’s easy to move around. Food is great too. Not cheap, but the quality is excellent.”
The last time she went was September last year, when she and her husband, Atoy, joined a food tour of Hokkaido promoted by a local chef in partnership with a Japan travel agency
“We usually go on our own. The only group tour we joined was [that] food trip because at that time, Japan allowed only tourists in a tour group. Plus we were curious about the tour,” Co explained.
Earlier, Aileen Clemente, president of Rajah Travel Corp., said Japan remains the most popular destination for Filipinos, followed by Singapore and Bangkok, and Hong Kong. (See, “PSA: Pinoy wanderers hike spending in vacations abroad,” in the BusinessMirror, July 10, 2023.)
According to the JNTO, of the total number of Filipinos who visited in the first seven months of the year, 180,765 visited for tourism purposes; 120,784 went for business, and 27,251 were for “others” or an unspecified purpose.
Meanwhile, in prepandemic 2019, some 42 percent of Filipino visitors to Japan were first-time tourists, 35 percent had visited a second or third time, and 19.5 percent had visited the country anywhere from four to nine times.
Filipinos also appear to be quite adventurous when visiting Japan, as almost 88 percent of them in 2019 traveled there using their own arrangements, compared to the rest who joined group tours or “used a package product for individual travel.”
Over 50 percent of Filipinos who traveled to Japan in 2019 stayed from four to six days, while 36.5 percent stayed within seven to 13 days. No data were available for 2022 or for the first seven months of 2023 for these data categories.
Image credits: Whitcomberd | Dreamstime.com