Beyond the “bitterness of the inbound tourism industry

Chikirin posted a blog post on August 2, 2020 titled “Inbound Tourism Industry Suffering Factors Summary”.

It’s a plausible data and argument and I agree with the article.

However, in her article, she asks, “How did the inbound tourism industry come into being in the first place? This entry does not deal with the point that

In this entry, I would like to introduce the issues in Japan that no one “dares” to bring up.

Contents] (Jump to the part you want to read)


Chikirin’s article

Chikirin’s article, “Inbound Tourism Industry Suffering Factors Summary,” explains why the inbound tourism industry is in a tough spot. The chapters are as follows.

  1. We had just made a big investment
  2. .

  3. The market was a different need than the Japanese market
  4. .

  5. Area with a high concentration of inbound precincts had skyrocketing rents
  6. .

  7. The revival of inbound tourism is a long way off
  8. .

“The above is a summary of how inbound tourism is “in a much tougher position than normal tourism” and the factors that contribute to it. What’s going to happen to inbound tourism, which was expected to be a new industry in Japan?”

What’s really going to happen to it? By the way, inbound tourism refers to tourism by people coming to Japan from abroad. The scope of the impact on the hotel, souvenir industry, transportation, etc. is not limited to Laox announcing a downturn in business due to the decline in inbound tourism in recent times.

I’m from the Shonan area, which is famous for tourism, and as you can see in the image at the beginning of this article, I was at the renovation event of Odakyu Katase Enoshima Station on July 27th. I am also the owner of a members-only hotel, so I have some knowledge and experience. I think it’s a really tricky situation.

In the case of Katase Enoshima, a considerable amount of money was spent on the renovation of the station building, as it was the planned site for the Olympics. In addition to the Dragon’s Palace-like exterior, the station is decorated with the above pattern.

A water tank for jellyfish from the Enoshima Aquarium, as shown in the opening image, has also been installed. There are jellyfish floating in a huge tank of about 3 meters in length. It must be very hard to manage them.

All these hard work has been blown away by the current situation, and it is doubtful that the aquarium will be back to normal in a few years, let alone a year from now. It’s a really tough time for us.

Japanese Population Projections

Now, by the way, the article is true, “Why would you want to spend so much money on inbound tourism? You may have wondered.

You are right. In the business world, the industry that supports a country is basically a low-risk, low-latency industry to grow. With that in mind, it is safer to grow the traditional tourism industry.

(Even if it’s a mature industry that’s tough to grow significantly.)

The reason for this can be seen in the following population projections.

In other words, we have a “low birthrate and an aging population”. Medical advances have increased life expectancy, but the birth rate is decreasing.

As you can see from the chart, the number of young people in Japan is decreasing even if you count the number of people. Since the elderly are not declining, Japan’s population is only declining slowly.

Expecting older people to travel is tough, while young people are busy. Interest in travel is also declining. That’s why I thought “I’m going to take the risk of setting up an inbound tourism business“.

On top of that, a significant portion of the manufacturing industry is now manufactured overseas. This is due to labor costs, convenience in terms of production locations, as well as a shortage of labor in rural areas. In order to compensate for this, there is a momentum behind the idea of inbound tourism.

Incidentally, cities are cities, and they are suffering from a serious labor shortage. The labor-intensive IT industry is a prime example of this. So, in addition to inbound tourism, there is a plan to create a robot industry.

If you look at the whole picture like this, you can see that the people of the regions are trying to make a living from inbound tourism for the time being. In other words, people in rural areas thought that inbound tourism would provide a way to survive for the time being, but it has become a difficult situation.

The IT and distribution industries in the cities are in need of human resources, and what they want are engineers. There aren’t many people in rural areas who can meet those needs. That’s why “technology-oriented country” has turned into “tourism-oriented country” before you know it.

It’s not fair to blame those involved in the inbound tourism industry for this. People are not always good at what they do. Only a certain percentage of the population can survive in the IT industry.

Nowadays, with the development of the internet, it is possible to work from home in rural areas or even teach classes remotely. So while young people may be able to train and make it in time, those older than that will most likely not be able to catch up.

Essentially, if the numbers are going to be small, it’s more efficient to rally than to remain dispersed. But as Chikirin has commented, the cost of living goes up in such cities. That’s why it’s difficult to get people to converge in cities.

This is a challenge that we will have to face eventually, but it’s nice to remember that this is a challenge that we will have to face eventually. Looking ahead, it is desirable for us to become a technological nation again, even now.


These are the issues in Japan that everyone knows about but “dare not bring up”. Although we have made the transition to a technology-based nation with a focus on tourism, we are failing in our efforts to take on the risks involved.

It’s just that… In this situation, it is important to think about becoming a technological nation again, while worrying about inbound tourism. (It’s a challenge we’ll eventually face, even if we procrastinate anyway.)

Because of the current international situation, it is also a good idea to make Tokyo an international financial center instead of Hong Kong. There is absolutely no need for technology in tourism, but I think it is better to start with the highest priority.

That is why I am in favor of promoting the bailout of the tourism industry, but I prefer to promote the idea of a technology-based country and an international financial center.

Well, I’ll leave you with that. See you soon.

Sei Yotsuba