From ‘Bad Tourists’ to Informed Ones: Japan Should Play Its Part

Japan’s tourism has been soaring year on year. Just last year, its foreign tourist numbers reached 24 million. This is still expected to rise to 40 million come 2020 for the Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics.


The future looks good. However, some locals are already expressing their preference to keep the ‘bad tourists’ from entering Japan. These ‘bad tourists’ are not the ‘ugly Americans’ or ‘arrogant French’ they used to experience. Instead, the locals are referring to their Asian neighbors.


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Tourist spots such as shrines, cat islands and museums have been oversaturated with foreigners that Japan’s norms in hygiene, respect for the local’s privacy and daily routine etiquette have been compromised just to get an Instagram-worthy picture. Some places have increased their entrance fees just to filter the quantity of tourists. However, ‘bad tourists’ are still seen.


Just as how Japan has been educating its locals on etiquette since at least 1974, the country should also do the same with all inbound tourists. Posters written in English or Chinese or Korean or with powerful drawings may be displayed along transportation systems, restaurants, public spaces and tourist spots. That will be a good initiative.


Though the government has started distributing free booklets to arriving visitors, it could be better if the 144-page booklet containing Japanese mores be available online in .pdf version or in an entertaining app in English.


With this, foreign tourists will be informed of Japanese common sense courtesy such as not rushing onto the train while doors are closing, not talking loudly or taking too much seat space, toning down the volume of headphones, and not putting on make-up while inside a train.


Reference: Blame for ‘bad tourists’ to Japan lies with the advice they never receive


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