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Diet approves five-year tourism promotion plan

Date Posted: 2012-04-06

A five-year plan to promote tourism in Japan at a cost of 30 trillion has been approved by the Cabinet.

The new tourism promotion plan seeks to increase the number of foreign visitors in coming years. Tourism declined last year, in the aftermath of the March Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, from 8.6 million in 2010 to 6.2 million last year. The target is to boost the number of annual foreign tourists to 18 million a year by 2016.

The plan also underscores the economic ripple effects of attracting more tourists from elsewhere in Asia and the rest of the world, as Japan's population and birthrate fall and its society ages. While expanding the annual spending target by visitors to 30 trillion, compared with 25.5 trillion in 2009, the plan anticipates tourism will provide employment opportunities for about 5.4 million people across the nation.

The plan sets a goal in the annual number of people traveling abroad from Japan to 20 million, compared with an estimated 17 million in 2011, and urges firms to grant employees more holidays.

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