Tanigaki touts foreign tourism to boost economy

Attracting more foreign tourists can help offset the loss of economic vitality foreseen as the nation ages and the population declines, tourism minister Sadakazu Tanigaki said Monday.

“Even if we work hard to expand internal demand while the population declines, it won’t be enough,” Tanigaki said in an interview with The Japan Times. “It will be necessary to bring in people, commodities and money from developing areas.”

To this end, the Japan Tourism Agency will be established under the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry in October.

Welcoming more Asian tourists is a way to revitalize the economy, the former finance minister said.

Tanigaki said Japan has huge growth potential in tourism. “Our country has such a (long) history and abundant nature with four seasons,” Tanigaki said. “There is still room for further growth” in the number of foreign visitors, he stressed.