Japan has clinched the prestigious title of top destination worldwide in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2023 Reader’s Choice Awards. Garnering an impressive overall rating of 92.43, Japan finished just ahead of Italy (91.43), Greece (91.16), and Ireland (90.75), claiming the top spot on a list otherwise dominated by European destinations.
Expressing gratitude for the accolade, Mr. Ken Toyoda, Executive Director of the Japan National Tourism Organization in Toronto stated “We are so appreciative of so many Canadian travellers who are coming to Japan this year. We are honoured to receive this award, and heartened that so many people are discovering or rediscovering the beauty of Japan and recommending it to others.” He adds that, “The current Japanese tourism experience offers travellers a diverse range of dynamic regions with rich and unique traditions that enhance the special qualities of each. There is something to appeal to every kind of traveller.”
The Reader’s Choice Awards hold immense significance within the global travel industry. They are voted on annually by the readership of Condé Nast, with the total votes often exceeding five hundred thousand.
The prestigious recognition coincides with a period of growth and recovery in Japan’s tourism industry, rebounding from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Arrival numbers from Canada have surpassed pre-pandemic 2019 levels and overall North America is projected to close the gap by early 2024. Bookings in both luxury and general market properties are seeing a significant uptick. Much of this resurgence is fueled by robust demand from North America, where bookings are projected to surge by over 100 per cent in the next six months.
A shift in the national attitude towards tourism in Japan is partly credited as a contributing factor to the swell of visitors. Locals, eager to welcome guests after a two-year hiatus are creating a hospitable atmosphere. The award also reflects Japan’s concerted efforts to diversify and refine its tourism product. While many visitors are familiar with Japan, Kyoto, and Nara, there is now growing emphasis on authentic, sustainable experiences in rural areas, inviting visitors beyond the well-trodden “Golden Route.” Mountain temples, traditional farms, and secluded Onsen are enticing travellers to explore the lesser-known aspects of Japan, away from the bright lights of major cities.
From cultural festivals and world-class museums to skiing excursions, traditional Ryokans, and garden tours, Japan has embraced a wide array of sustainable attractions encouraging visitors to immerse themselves in the country’s unique culture and history. While Tokyo remains a top destination, an increasing number of travellers are utilizing the robust rail system to discover new facets of Japan, and falling in love with the destination all over again.
For more information about travel to Japan, go to: https://www.japan.travel/en/ca/.
Adam Waxman is an award winning travel journalist focusing on food, wine and well being. As well as an actor in film, television and formerly, the Stratford Festival, he is the Publisher of DINE and Destinations magazine.