【英语财经】亚洲中产游客推动日本经济复苏 Overseas tourists boost Japan recovery

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2014-6-10 07:02

小艾摘要: The last time foreign tourists spent more money in Japan than their Japanese equivalents spent overseas, the Apollo moon landing was still fresh in the memory, Osaka was hosting Asia’s first World’s ...
Overseas tourists boost Japan recovery
The last time foreign tourists spent more money in Japan than their Japanese equivalents spent overseas, the Apollo moon landing was still fresh in the memory, Osaka was hosting Asia’s first World’s Fair and a dollar bought three-and-a-half-times more yen than it does today.

But now Japan has earned its first “tourism surplus” in 44 years – a testament to the transformation of Asia’s economies that has turned once prohibitively expensive Japanese cities into affordable destinations for many middle-class Chinese, Thais and Indonesians.

Japan’s aggregate tourism-related revenues exceeded expenditures by Y17.7bn ($172m) in April, current account data released by the finance ministry yesterday showed, the largest such surplus on record and the first since July 1970.

Tourism is helping to support a rebound in Japan’s economy even as exports of manufactured goods, a more traditional source of strength, have lagged – responding only weakly to a slide in the yen that has made them theoretically more competitive.

Asia’s broader tourism shift has been under way for a number of years but it has accelerated since 2012, when the yen began a 20 per cent decline against other leading currencies, further lowering the cost of everything from hotels to meals to shopping expeditions for foreigners. (Back in 1970, the Japanese currency was still vastly cheaper, at a fixed Y360 to the dollar.)

Japan is attracting more holidaymakers from Europe and North America too but Asia is by far the largest source of visitors. The latest data on tourist numbers, from February, showed a near-doubling in the number from Thailand compared with the same month in 2013, and jumps of 50-60 per cent from Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The number of Chinese tourists swelled by 140 per cent in spite of political tensions between Tokyo and Beijing over wartime history and maritime territory. Popular anger at Japan exploded in China in late 2012 when Tokyo purchased a group of disputed islands from their private Japanese owner, but has subsided somewhat since.

外国游客在日本的消费支出上一次超过日本游客在海外的消费支出时,阿波罗号(Apollo)登月在人们的脑海中尚且记忆犹新,大阪正在举行亚洲首个世界博览会(World’s Fair),1美元所能兑换的日元是如今的3.5倍。

如今,日本实现了近44年以来的首个“旅游顺差”——这表明,亚洲各经济体发生的变化,已使曾经贵得吓人的日本城市成为了中国、泰国以及印尼等国很多中产人士负担得起的旅行目的地。

日本财务省昨日公布的经常项目数据显示,今年4月份日本与旅游业相关的总收入较总支出高出了17.7万亿日元(合1.72亿美元),创下了这项顺差的历史最高纪录,并且是1970年7月以来日本首次实现旅游顺差。

旅游业有助于支撑日本经济反弹,即便制成品出口作为一种更加传统的经济实力来源近来滞后——日元走低理论上应使日本制造业更具竞争力,但事实上对制成品出口的推动力相当微弱。

亚洲旅游业整体格局的转变已持续了好几年,但自2012年以来转变速度加快,当时日元兑其他主要货币的汇率开启了一轮跌幅达20%的贬值,进一步降低了外国游客在日本的住宿、饮食以及购物支出等各项费用(1970年时,日元汇率远低于当前水平,1美元可按固定汇率兑换360日元)。

日本也吸引到了更多来自欧洲和北美的度假客,但亚洲仍是遥遥领先的客源地。今年2月份的最新游客数据显示,来自泰国的游客数量同比增长近一倍,来自印度、菲律宾以及越南的游客数量同比增长50%至60%。

来自中国的游客数量飙升了140%,尽管中日两国政府间的政治关系因为战争历史以及海上领土等问题颇为紧张。2012年末,日本中央政府向私人所有者买下一个争议岛群,中国民众的仇日情绪爆发,但此后这股情绪逐渐沉寂下来。

译者/何黎

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