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A Serge in the number of Foreign Tourists
The Japanese government is promoting the construction of larger hotels outside major cities as part of a drive to welcome 40 million foreign visitors a year by 2020, when Tokyo will host the Olympic Games
Tourism is a pillar of the Japanese governmentís economic growth strategy. In 2015, a record 19.7 million foreign visitors arrived in Japan. The average occupancy rate of hotels across the country stood at 60.5% in 2015, up 8.7% from 2011, according to the Japan Tourism Agency.
To counter accommodation shortages and prepare for the future, the central government will request local governments to make changes to building regulations to permit larger hotels to be built in areas beyond Japanís three largest cities of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.
Currently, each local government sets a limit on the ratio of a hotelís total floor area to the plot of land on which it sits. The upper limit of that ratio ranges from 200% to 1,300%, depending on locality. Redevelopment projects in central Tokyo and Osaka have already benefitted from eased floor-area ratios.
Additionally, to attract more foreigners to Japanese traditional ryokan inns in the countryside, which have more vacant rooms than hotels, the Japan Tourism Agency will offer up to •1 million per facility to subsidize the cost of remodelling Japanese-style squat toilets into Western-style ones or creating websites in foreign languages.
The government is also supporting the transformation old private houses or unused school buildings into accommodation facilities to expand lodging capacity.