tourism spike japan

China is giving its powerful Asian rival a helping hand.

A decline in the value of the yen drew crowds of Chinese tourists to Japan, leading to a 49% jump in revenue from foreign visitors in 2015.

"It's almost taken the Japanese by surprise by how successful they've been," WTTC CEO David Scowsill told CNNMoney.

Overall, the Japanese tourism industry grew by 4.4% in 2015, compared to economic growth of just 0.6%.

Related: Chinese tourists spent $215 billion abroad

First published March 21, 2016: 12:35 PM ET

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