Foreign visitors to Mt. Fuji area down 77%

Foreign visitors represent an important of the tourism industry in the areas surrounding Mt. Fuji. The Mt. Fuji Visitor Center in Yamanashi Prefecture reported that the number of foreign visitors to the center between April and September, 2011, fell 77% from a year earlier to 20,650.

Chinese tourists typically make up the majority of foreign visitors to the Mt. Fuji area, however, the number of Chinese visitors fell by 78% to 10,300. Fuji Kyuko, a tourism company that operates in conjunction with the Visitor Center, had opened a sales office in Shanghai in July, 2010, but the effects of the March disaster continue to have a negative effect on their business.

Including Japanese citizens, the total number of tourists who visited the Center fell by 47% to 77,504. The number of Japanese visitors fell by 3% to 56,854.

While six months have passed since the earthquake, foreign visitor numbers are still lagging with the number of visitors between July and September falling by 60% to 15,264. On a positive note, the number of  domestic visitors increased by 20% over the same period. The impact of the tsunami led many domestic travelers to choose to spend their summer vacation in the mountains, rather than by the sea. The Visitor Center is now working on improving its services directed towards domestic visitors.

The Nikkei Shimbun, October 21, 2011.

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