Inter-Regional Cooperation Issues for the Kansai Region Seen in Terms of the Flow of
Visitors to the Region
March 25, 2005
With the opening of the Aichi 2005 World Exposition on March 25, there are signs that the Kansai Region is setting out to attract visitors to the Aichi Expo and boost its own demand for tourism. Chubu International Airport opened on February 17, but there are plans to begin work on a second runway for Kansai International Airport in 2007. The issue of how the Kansai Region should cooperate with the Chubu and other regions of Japan to encourage a flow of people and goods is likely to be of increasing importance in the future.
A survey of trends in the number of foreign visitors to Japan reveals that some 5.07 million come to Japan each year, and that, on average, each person visits 2.1 prefectures. As a result, the total number of visits to all prefectures is 10.6 million. By region, this breaks down as 4.41 million visits to the Kanto Region, 2.79 million to the Kansai Region, 1.01 million to the Kyushu Region, etc.
Foreign visitors to the Kyushu, Kanto and Hokkaido Regions generally remain within the same region and relatively few visit another region. Foreign visitors to the Kansai and Tohoku Regions typically also visit another region.
The other region most commonly visited by foreign visitors to the Kansai Region is the Kanto Region. On the other hand, the Kansai Region is the main destination for foreign visitors who also visit the Chugoku and Shikoku Regions. The other region most commonly visited by foreign visitors to the Chubu Region is the Kanto Region, followed by the Kansai Region.
A survey of airport use by foreign visitors, by region, reveals that most visitors to the Kanto, Tohoku and Ko-Shin-Etsu Regions use Narita International Airport. The majority of visitors to the Kansai Region use Kansai International Airport but a large number also use Narita. Visitors to the Chubu Region use Narita and Nagoya airports.
Japan receives approximately 2.87 million visitors from the four Asian countries/regions of China, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, who account for 57% of all foreign visitors to this country. The total number of visits made by these persons to all prefectures in Japan is 5.86 million. The regions with the highest proportion of visitors from Asia among their foreign visitors are Hokkaido and Kyushu. The Kansai Region's proportion of Asian visitors is in line with the national average.
The total number of nights spent in hotel accommodation by tourists in Japan each year is 155.13 million. The principal destinations include the Kanto, Chubu and Hokuriku, Ko-Shin-Etsu, and Kansai Regions.
The Kansai is one of the major destinations in Japan both for foreign visitors and for domestic tourists, but its importance does not obscure that of the Kanto and other regions. At present, the Kansai Region has relatively strong cooperative relationships with the Chugoku and Shikoku Regions, but its relationships with the Chubu Regions, are less than adequate. As far as the Chubu Region is concerned, its links with the Kansai and Kanto Regions are of equal strength and the Kansai Region does not occupy a place of special importance.
For more information on the content of this report, please contact:
Kiyoshi Yoshimoto, Head of Kansai Economic Research Center
Mizuho Nishiura, Senior Researcher, Kansai Economic Research Center