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15 Jan 2019

Visits from Japan to the UK to reach 'record high' in 2019

The number of tourist arrivals from Japan to the UK is expected to reach record levels this year,
following the introduction of measures to make it easier for visitors to enter the country.

From summer 2019, Japanese nationals will be able to use ePassport gates to enter the UK – which are currently only available for British and EU nationals.

There is also growing airline connectivity – with a new direct, non-stop route from Osaka to London scheduled for April 2019 by British Airways.

The increase in inbound flight capacity and the introduction of ePassports has been accompanied by a number of economic and cultural ties agreed by the two countries, following a recent visit to the UK by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

As a result of the measures, national tourism agency VisitBritain expects visit numbers from Japan to reach 270,000 in 2019, a 9 per cent increase on 2017.

Spending by Japanese visitors in the UK is expected to reach £285m this year, up from £250m in 2017.

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

Michael Ellis, UK 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.”

Japanese perceptions of the UK as a visitor destination are strong. Japan ranked the UK fourth out of 50 nations for its overall brand in the 2018 Anholt Nation Brands Index, and up one place on 2017. Japan also rated the UK highly for its vibrant cities and urban attractions and historic buildings and monuments.

Culture is one of the key attractions for tourists from Japan who enjoy visiting the UK’s museums and art galleries, sightseeing at famous monuments and buildings and visiting castles or historic houses.

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