An international cruise ship docked at a Japanese port Wednesday for the first time in three years, another milestone toward the country regaining the tourist traffic that declined sharply during the pandemic.
The Amadea arrived during the morning at the Port of Shimizu in Shizuoka, the city nestled close to Mount Fuji. The liner carried more than 500 people, most of them hailing from Germany.
Officials boarded the Amadea to conduct health checks before passengers disembarked to undergo port of entry clearance. One 77-year-old visiting Japan for the first time commented on the gorgeous view of Mount Fuji from the deck of the ship and expressed eagerness to dine on Japanese cuisine.
During the pre-pandemic year of 2019, international cruise ships visited Japanese ports about 1,900 times. The number of port arrivals is expected to return to about 1,200 this year, the tourism ministry said.
Overseas cruise travelers spent 80.5 billion yen ($591 million at current rates) in 2019, the ministry reports. The city of Yokohama estimates that each stop by a cruise ship touring Asia equates to an economic benefit of 175 million yen. The sum includes purchases of food and spending by tourists alighting the ships. The wide-ranging economic impact went beyond direct spending.