Japanese tourism to the UK is expected to grow this year — to its highest level since 2007 — as the two countries strengthen its economic and cultural ties.

According to the national tourism agency, VisitBritain, visitor numbers from Japan are estimated to reach 270,000 in 2019 (9% up from 2017). These visitors will stimulate spending, which is expected to reach GBP 285 million this year.

Visitors from Japan spent (on average) GBP 1,011 per visit in the UK in 2017, compared to the all market average of GBP 625.

“Our continued close relationship will benefit both nations”

Michael Ellis, the UK’s tourism minister, said: “The UK and Japan have strong cultural, artistic and sporting ties and this is translating into increased visitor numbers to our shores.

“Tourism is good for our understanding of each other’s cultures and can help strengthen our economies. With thousands of Brits expected to travel to Japan for the Rugby World Cup this year and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, our continued close relationship will benefit both nations.”

Tokyo 2020

ePassport gates = faster border process

As part of the government’s efforts to develop a new global immigration system, Japanese nationals will be able to use ePassport gates to enter the UK from summer 2019. They’re currently available only to British and EU nationals and are designed to ease the process at the border.

Furthermore, British Airways is also expected to help boost visitor numbers by launching a new direct, non-stop route from Osaka to London.

“A fiercely competitive global industry”

VisitBritain’s director, Patricia Yates, said: “Japan is an important market for VisitBritain and we want the UK to be the number one destination in Europe for Japanese visitors, so it is encouraging to see the expected growth this year.

“Tourism is a fiercely competitive global industry and we continue to promote the message of welcome and value, working with partners to make it easier to travel here and promote the amazing experiences that Japanese travellers can only have in Britain.”

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