The last couple of years have seen a massive surge in the number of the Muslim tourists to Japan. The Japanese tourism and hospitality industry is hopeful that the rise will effectively compensate for the loss of the Chinese tourists to the country in the recent years. To help further accelerate the influx of Muslims to the country, both the private sector and Government agencies in the country have been making strenuous efforts.
The prime minister of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe is especially keen to establish stronger relationships with the Muslim world. Even the events calendar of the Ministry Foreign Affairs in Japan (MOFA) of the year 2013 clearly indicates how keen it is to attract Muslim visitors from Indonesia, Malaysia and other Muslim countries.
The hospitality industry in Japan is especially keen to tap into the growing Halal tourism market and has been making efforts to understand the Muslim culture, dietary requirements of the Muslim tourists and how to prepare themselves to offer halal-friendly services in the Japanese hotels and restaurants.
Most of these hotel representatives told me that they wanted to tap into the influx of the Muslim tourists mostly from South Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia as the Japanese Government has abolished visa requirements for Malaysian, Indonesian, Thai and the Philipinas since April, 2013.
The reasons behind the abolishing of visa requirements for the above mentioned nationalities are quite a few. However, as most Japan observers have noted that due to the worsening of the relationships of Japan with China has resulted in a steep decline of the Chinese tourists to the country. To fill the void in the number of foreign visitors to the country, Japanese government took the steps to waive the visa requirements for the nationals of the above-mentioned countries.
The latest statistics of the Muslim visitors from these countries seem to indicate a strong surge in the number of visitors from these countries. The pace is only going to accelerate in the years to come.
However, some of the Halal-friendly hotel representatives complained that some of the Muslim tourists ask for unreasonably huge discounts once they are about to pay for their stay at the hotel in question.