Japan saw an estimated 2,900 foreign travelers in April, down 99.9% from a year earlier, as COVID-19 travel restrictions and lockdowns left the once-booming tourism sector in a state of paralysis.
The drop in foreign visitors was the most significant percentage decline on record dating back to 1964, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) reported. It was the first time the monthly figure fell sub 10,000. The previous low for monthly foreign visitors was 17,543 set back in February 1964.
The reason for the sharp decline stems from the government’s restrictions on international travel following a surge in domestic virus cases and deaths. On April 3, entry restrictions for international travelers were applied to 100 countries, including China, the US, and Europe, resulting in a collapse of inbound travel that severely impacted the country’s tourism industry.