Why invest in Niseko?
Even after 30 years of negligible economic growth, Japan is still the world’s third biggest economy. In recent years, the country has opened up to tourism like never before to help kick-start growth.
The new spirit of openness has seen arrival numbers explode. The country attracted 10 million for the first time only in 2010. In 2018 and 2019, that figure was more than 31 million and would almost certainly have climbed higher since, were it not for the pandemic.
A January 2020 Japan Tourism Agency report showed that those foreign tourists spent a record ¥4.81 trillion (US$43.6 billion) in Japan in 2019. That was an increase of 6.5 percent on 2018, itself a record year, and was the seventh consecutive yearly increase in tourist spending.
In a recent white paper, the Japanese government has reiterated its commitment to a target of 60 million visitors by 2030.
So what’s so great about Japan?
Developed regulatory environment and legal system
One of the safest places in the world
High standard of living
Expected further growth in international tourism
Growing rental potential among domestic and international visitors
Zooming in on Niseko
Niseko has been one of the success stories of Japan’s opening up to the world. The last two decades have seen it go from little-known even within the country to among the most dynamic resorts in the world, mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Aspen, Vail and the best European resorts.
Its meteoric rise has spurred innovation in the hospitality sector with its condos and chalets more appealing to foreign clientele and now being supplemented by some of the biggest names in the hotel industry including Ritz-Carlton and Aman.
5hrs to Tokyo
The government is leaning in too, extending the new Hokkaido shinkansen line through Kutchan, in the valley below Niseko, all the way to Sapporo. That’s expected to open in 2030 and will mean Tokyo will be under five hours from Sapporo by train and possibly as little as four. Both of these targets align with a proposed Sapporo bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics.
Niseko by the numbers
From 2011 to 2018, accumulated accommodation guests grew by a CAGR of 20.6 percent making Niseko among the fastest growing tourism areas in the country.
Domestic and international tourism complement each other: in 2018, the highest monthly figures for accumulated accommodation guests for both categories were in the winter months of December, January and February, but local visitors provided another notable spike in arrivals in July and August.
New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido saw 20 million domestic and 4 million international tourist arrivals in 2018, an increase of 150% since 2011. Although international tourism has been restricted during the pandemic, there has seen a surge in provincial tourism with people from Sapporo taking staycations and workcations.
At the World Ski Awards, Niseko United was declared Japan’s Best Ski Resort four years running, from 2013 to 2016.