Japan welcomed 20% more tourists in 2017 — in addition to the number can be growing

Tourists in kimonos have their photograph taken next to a huge lantern in Senso-ji buddhist temple, on January 19, 2018, in Tokyo.

Carl Court | Getty Images

Tourists in kimonos have their photograph taken next to a huge lantern in Senso-ji buddhist temple, on January 19, 2018, in Tokyo.

Back in 2008, Japan set an ambitious goal for its tourism industry: 20 million visitors by the year 2020.

in which hit in which several years early.

Japan can be experiencing a historic tourism boom, from the wake of in which drive to draw 20 million leisure visitors, timed to coincide with the planned Olympics in Tokyo. Last year, Japan welcomed 28.7 million tourists — up through 10.4 million in 2013.

The surge has been helped by several factors, including a relatively weak yen — down about 10 percent against the dollar over the last several years — in addition to relaxed visa requirements, particularly for the all-important Chinese market.

The growth rate — about 20 percent in 2017 versus 2016 — can be one of the highest from the planet in addition to required to continue, said André Andonian, managing partner for Japan at consultancy firm McKinsey.

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