Back in 2008, Japan set an ambitious goal for its tourism industry: 20 million visitors by the year 2020.
It hit it five years early.
Japan is experiencing a historic tourism boom, in the wake of that drive to draw 20 million leisure visitors, timed to coincide with the planned Olympics in Tokyo. Last year, Japan welcomed 28.7 million tourists — up from 10.4 million in 2013.
The surge has been helped by several factors, including a relatively weak yen — down about 10 percent against the dollar over the last five years — and relaxed visa requirements, particularly for the all-important Chinese market.
The growth rate — about 20 percent in 2017 versus 2016 — is one of the highest in the world and expected to continue, said André Andonian, managing partner for Japan at consultancy firm McKinsey.