Japan: This Year’s Vacation Recommendation

April 24, 2024 | Catherine Callaghan, Associate Research Analyst

Foreign investment isn’t the only thing streaming into Japan. In 2023, the number of travelers to the country surpassed long-term average levels, though that figure still sat below pre-pandemic highs. That said, last year was a clear sign of recovery for Japan’s beleaguered tourism industry, and this trend has continued into 2024. Through the first two months of this year, the number of visitors to Japan is already close to 22% of last year’s total, with tourists coming from surrounding Asian countries and the Western world as well. To that point, nearly 150,000 U.S. citizens visited Japan in the month of February alone. A major driver of Japan’s appeal to tourists is the weak yen. In April, the yen hit a low not seen in over 30 years relative to the dollar, thanks in part to disparity between the policies of the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan. These dynamics have allowed U.S. travelers to enjoy more “bang for their buck.”

Earlier this year, Japan slightly curtailed its long-running accommodative monetary policy with the goal of addressing the country’s chronic deflation problem and spurring economic growth. The influx of tourists described above might also provide these desired effects, with several industries, including transportation, restaurants, entertainment, and hospitality potentially standing to benefit. For instance, there has been a material increase in average daily hotel rates in Japan, which recently hit highs not seen since the late 1990s. Although this is just one example of travelers having an impact on Japanese price levels and growth, it is illustrative of what could happen more broadly to industries directly tied to tourism. While the outlook for economic growth and future tourism in Japan is uncertain, it is encouraging to see certain data reflect the pre-pandemic environment.

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Catherine Callaghan
Associate Research Analyst

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The opinions expressed herein are those of Marquette Associates, Inc. (“Marquette”), and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to purchase or sell any product. Marquette reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs.

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