Before the early-2020 COVID-19 bust in tourist arrival numbers set in, Japan’s tourism
industry had witnessed a boom in the number of international tourists over the previous
decade (International Monetary Fund 2020a, 2020b). The number of arrivals almost tripled
from 2013 to 2018 to a record 31 million. The average growth rate of tourist arrivals during
the 2013–2018 period was 25.1 percent annually. The share of international tourists in
Japan’s total domestic tourism expenditure increased from 4.7 percent in 2009 to 17.3
percent in 2018, marking their increasing importance for the tourism industry in Japan.
However, the number of international visitors has collapsed since the beginning of 2020 due
to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, with essentially no tourists arriving in April and
May, 2020 (see Box, Section II)

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