Colloquially known as the “Aspen of Asia”, Niseko’s dynamic local economy has worked hard to diversify its tourist industry beyond just snow sports. Given the roaring construction projects in and around the notorious Hokkaido resort, this year-round tourist boom is welcomed by developers new and old alike.
Fig.1: A sample from one of the largest real estate developers in Niseko confirms development and construction expenditures are on the rise.
As the graph above demonstrates, the development industry in Niseko is thriving. Indeed, construction expenditures have more than doubled since 2015. In this short period, there has been copious coverage of the ‘champagne’ powder snow for which Niseko is now world famous. However, with a Park Hyatt and Ritz Carleton both to open their doors for the first time in 2020, diversification of Niseko’s ‘peak’ periods, in addition to the price spike around the Christmas period, is certain to attract further investor interest.
The diversification of activities on offer around Niseko is occurring at a time in which the resort's popularity is growing rapidly. The resort saw an increase of 15.5 percent in numbers of foreign visitors last year. Aided by the weak yen and the growing tourist infrastructure of the island, business is set to boom in the near future.
Fig.2: Since 2015, Foreign Visitors to Niseko have more than doubled
Certainly, visitor figures are impressive. Moreover, the bimodal nature of tourist visits to Niseko is significant. Previously famous only for its snow sports, the resort’s summer offerings are attracting holidaymakers drawn by the temperate Japanese climate in contrast to the sweltering humidity of Singapore or Hong Kong. Although visitor footfalls in summer are currently lower than in winter by some 100,000 or more, numbers are still high and allow the region to avoid the summer tourist droughts experienced by many ski resorts around the world.
Fig.3: Niseko's visitor numbers spike in August and January, demonstrating the resort's year-round appeal
Moreover, given the privatisation of nearby New Chitose airport on the horizon, with talks for the purchase to be finalised and the airport privately operated by October 2020 ongoing, accessibility to the island is set to ease as a result of promised infrastructure investment by the competing consortia.
Thus, easier accessibility, investment in tourist infrastructure ensuring year-round activity availability and booming development makes Niseko's market fundamentals hugely attractive for investors looking for viable investment locations based upon a promising future market outlook.