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MAY 20, 2017
Overtaking New Zealand, Japan has topped the 2017 world skiing destination rankings compiled by Australia’s International Traveler magazine.
Readers picked Japan as the best skiing destination thanks to its high-quality powder snow.
“‘Powder, powder, powder’ is one of the main reasons Japan was absolutely streaks ahead in this year’s skiing results,” the magazine said. It added that readers also raved about the culture and food.
Canada ranked third, followed by the United States and Switzerland.
Japanese ski resorts have grown popular with Australians in recent years, prompting the government to step up efforts to drive demand.
During his visit to Sydney in January, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he wanted to enjoy skiing with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Niseko, a globally popular ski resort in Hokkaido.
Municipalities and prefectures are also actively promoting ski resorts. Within the past year, Fukushima and Akita prefectures, plus a group of seven prefectures in western Japan, have held promotional events in Australia.
The ranking comes on the heels of the latest tourism report, released Friday, which said visitors passed the 10 million mark on May 14, three weeks earlier than last year and at the fastest pace on record.
According to the Japan Tourism Agency, foreign visitors have surpassed the 10 million mark for five years straight.
In April alone, the tally rose 23.9 percent compared with the previous year to a new record of 2,578,900, shattering the previous all-time single-month high set in July 2016.