THE Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) plans to open new promotional offices in seven new destinations before the end of fiscal 2016, namely in India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Russia, Spain and Italy.
JNTO currently has offices in 13 markets, including South Korea, China, Singapore, New York, London and Paris.
"We want to create JNTO offices in countries that do not have a presence at the moment but are also experiencing an increase in tourist numbers," said Yoko Takano, of the general administration department at JNTO.
Japan welcomed a record 19.7 million visitors in 2015, an increase of more than 47 per cent on the previous year and significantly beyond the 13 million arrivals that tourism officials anticipated.
Arrivals from Malaysia were up 28 per cent to 50,300, according to the JNTO, while visitors from the Philippines climbed 50 per cent to 32,700 and Vietnamese tourists were up 29.7 per cent.
Indian arrivals were up a modest 10.8 per cent to 6,700, but the rapidly expanding middle-class in the country is expected to boost numbers.
Arrivals from Spain were up a remarkable 46.8 per cent and Italian tourists increased 23.7 per cent. Meanwhile, Russian arrivals shrank by 0.6 per cent to just 3,900 travellers.
The JNTO has no plans to increase its presence in China, South Korea or Hong Kong as numbers from those markets are already impressive.
Some 4.99 million mainland Chinese visited Japan in 2015, the largest single national group and more than double the previous year. South Koreans accounted for the second-largest number of visitors, with slightly over 4 million arrivals, up 54 per cent on 2014.