DALLAS —Tourism to Japan has surged 47% since the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, and more than doubled since 2010. 

Speaking at the World Travel and Tourism Council here on Thursday, Ryoichi Matsuyama, president of the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), said Japan tourism had "recovered dramatically,” to 19.74 million visitors in 2015, compared with just over 8 million visitors the year before the tsunami. 

Matsuyama added that for the first time in 45 years, more inbound visitors went to Japan than Japanese travelers left. 

About 80% of Japan’s visitors come from neighboring countries, led by China, which has sent almost 5 million visitors there in 2015. 

The United States is Japan’s top long-haul destination with just over one million visitors, up almost 42% since 2010. 

The JNTO credits the overall increase to more interest in Japan, the relaxation of visa requirements, the growth of the upper and middle classes in Asia, and expanding flight and cruise options.

Matsuyama said the JNTO aims to increase its long-haul market in part by stressing the relative value of Japan compared with New York, Paris and London, especially with the yen’s 42% devaluation against the dollar.

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