Japan visitors narrowly miss pre-COVID total in Nov

TOKYO (Reuters) – Some 2.44 million people visited Japan in November, up more than 160% year-on-year and just under the number of visitors in the same month in 2019, before the pandemic curtailed global travel, official data showed on Wednesday.

In November 2019, 2.441 million foreigners visited Japan, the Japan National Tourism Organization data showed.

Japan ended some of the world’s most stringent COVID-19 border restrictions late last year, and tourism has picked up so far this year, with the number of visitors rising in October to above pre-pandemic levels.

Japan, which counts inbound tourism as driver for economic growth, aims to boost the number of tourists to above the 2019-level of 31.88 million people by 2025 and to 60 million by 2030.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; editing by Miral Fahmy)