Japan Quietly And Politely Hates Its Tourism Boom

(MENAFN- Asia Times) Kyoto is bracing for another influx of tourists. Next to the rollout of the city administration's“mind your manners” campaign, Kyoto has terminated its popular one-day bus pass to discourage tourists from using the city's busses.

queueing times
and jammed public transport have
inconvenienced locals . In 2022, roughly 80% of residents complained about public transport and the streets being overly filled with tourists.

expressed concern
over tourists' behavior, such as littering or eating while walking. The rising number of international travelers strains local infrastructure and public manners have been termed“sightseeing pollution .”

Kyoto's relationship with international tourism is complex. The 52 million visitors to Kyoto in 2018 spent 1.3 trillion yen (US$8.7 billion), generating almost a fifth of the city's nominal GDP.

But the sector triggered a dynamic of“tourism gentrification” with locals being pushed out from the housing market since short-term holiday rentals are more lucrative to landlords. Shops and restaurants started catering to travelers rather than locals.

In February 2020, Shoei Murayama, a long-time member of the Kyoto city assembly, ran his mayoral campaign on the main message that“overtourism” was detrimental to the ancient capital city. Though he did not win the race, his campaign highlighted the debate about mass tourism.

The Covid-19 pandemic fundamentally changed the situation. Japan
closed its borders
to inbound tourists from April 2020 to October 2022, bringing the tourism industry to a complete halt.

During the prior seven years, from 2013, when Tokyo was selected as the host city for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the number of international visitors to Japan had
more than tripled
to almost 32 million in 2019.


Asia Times

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