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in Japan today
Tourism delivers only app. 2% of GDP (2,2% in 2000,
1,9% in 2003) and less then 3% of jobs (2,9% 2000, 2,7% 2003) (OECD 2002, TIJ
2004). The average for OECD countries in both respects is 4-5%.
Inbound tourism amounts to app. 6 mio. visitors per
year only, less than Sweden or Singapore, and less than half the global average
in the ratio of arrivals/population.
overall revenues of the Japanese tourism industry stem from domestic tourism
Even if the current “Yokosa Japan”
(Welcome to Japan) campaign reaches its aim of bringing 10 mio. visitors to
Japan by the year 2010, Japan will not be among the 25 major tourist
Taking into account the four factors mentioned before, these results are not surprising:
Domestic tourism is an exercise in
definition of 'Japanese-ness'.
Furusato tourism is not for foreigners,
just the opposite, as even trips to ’Peter Rabbit Country’ and ‘Heidiland’
become visits to “A furosato away from home”
The guilt-ridden briefness of absense from home leads
to short-term, event-orientated travels with onsen (hot springs) as the
major non-temporary attraction. This is also reflected in the hardware: hotels
with no wardrobes, airport transit busses without luggage departments.
The overarching influence of construction companies in
tourism resort development is reflected in the concentration on big projects
designed for visitors arriving in big groups and in the limited concern on
giving reasons for return-visits; a form of tourism in decline since the end of
the bubble economy.
The event-orientation expands from cultural festivals
also to en-masse visits to specific nature resources on specific occasions
(blossoms, coloured leaves, heatwave etc.). The preference of man-made nature
makes understandable the construction of huge artificial beaches within view of
the ocean like the famous Ocean Dome in Miyazaki/Kyushu.
Acquisition and consumption of spatial and cultural resources by tourism is comparatively limited in
As a positive result of
its weekness, tourism in Japan has not
succeeded in forcefully opening up the inside of sacred places like Shinto
shrines to the tourist gaze. In the cities, however, the same weekness results
in demolition of profane historic buildings, the filling-up of canals, the blocking
of vistas as part of landscaped gardens etc.
Local rural cultures
commodified – are nourished.
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