I've been a fan of the Strange Maps web site for a while – and I particularly like the maps that "tell a story" by making visual changes to reflect certain demographic data etc.

Today in the Telegraph newspaper (not a paper that I normally read) there's a series of such maps and some of them are fascinating. The one below shows each country's size in proportion to the NET number of tourists who visit. (i.e. the number  of incoming tourists minus the number of outgoing tourists).

Click on the link below to see the full size version and several more maps on the Telegraph web site:



I picked up a few things from this map:

(1) Japanese people can holiday all over the world. But Japan just isn't attracting enough tourists. Despite the highly developed domestic tourism infrastructure, Japan is doing a terrible job at persuading people to come and spend a holiday here.

(2) France exports its culture by importing its tourists … in the hordes … and the French further boost their country's NET INCOMING TOURISM ranking by staying in France for their own holidays. And why not? After all, France has mountains, coasts, fun cities, fantastic food….

…. but so does Japan.

It's time for Japan to get serious about promoting its brand as a tourist destination. Unfortunately, the sudden rise in the value of the yen won't help. It comes just as Japan was starting to shake off the image of being terribly expensive.