Saturday 3 December 2022

Japan to lift travel curbs for foreign tourists

TOKYO, Japan, September 25, 2022

Japan will open its doors back up to foreign tourists, after more than two years of closed borders due to the Covid pandemic, allow visa-free, independent tourism and abolish its daily arrival cap as of October 11, media reports said.

The government will also launch a nationwide travel discount program, which had been shelved due to the spread of Covid-19 infections, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was quoted as saying in a report carried by The Japan Times.

“I hope many people will utilize them,” Kishida said. “I want to support the travel, entertainment and other industries that have been struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Kishida also announced a domestic travel incentive scheme that will give discounts on travel, theme park prices, sporting events and concerts. Japanese residents and citizens will be eligible for a $77 subsidy.

Tourists will need to be vaccinated three times or submit a negative Covid-19 test result ahead of their trip, Kyodo News reported, citing government sources.

A nationwide domestic travel program offering discounts for travel, entry to theme parks, and for sporting events and concerts is also set to start on October 11, according to the report.

Japan's announcement comes at around the same time Taiwan and Hong Kong also relaxed entry rules for visitors, reported BBC.

Taiwan will drop quarantine requirements for international arrivals by mid-October, while Hong Kong on Friday said it would move from hotel quarantine to stay-at-home requirements from 26 September, it added.

Julia Simpson, President & CEO, of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), said: “After more than two years of closed borders, WTTC welcomes the news from the Japanese government that it will open the borders from early next month. Both leisure and business travellers have missed visiting this wonderful country.

“Before the pandemic struck, Travel & Tourism contributed 7.1% to the nation’s GDP, showing just how important the revival of international travel will be, not only to the economy, but to jobs up and down the country.”


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