Simon Richmond, author of The Rough Guide to Tokyo, The Rough Guide to Japan (Penguin UK), veteran tourist, and onetime Tokyo resident, has a pretty interesting op-ed in Japan Today.
I think that the Japanese government and the Japanese people as a whole are not really fully invested in the idea of having more tourists in Japan. Japan’s the second strongest economy in the world. Being the 33rd most popular tourist destination means that Japan’s economy is not reliant on tourism. That’s both good and bad.
…as a one-time resident and frequent traveler in Japan over the last 14 years, I’m not holding my breath on lasting benefits from the [Yokoso! Japan] campaign. I know that Japan’s international tourism problem cannot be fully solved by extra foreign-language signs or snazzy electronic gizmos. Larger issues need to be tackled, among them communication and coordination of policy between various government and private bodies.
In addition to thinking of ways to tempt foreign visitors here, the Japanese government should be encouraging more of its own citizens to travel overseas, improve their language skills, and get used to interacting with foreigners. Only then will Japan be able to extend a sincere and meaningful Yokoso to overseas visitors.
The trouble with ‘Yokoso’ [Japantoday.com]