After more than two years of closed borders, Japan will once again welcome foreign travelers this week.
From June 10, foreign tourists traveling on package tours can enter Japan.
However, the government’s priority remains to increase the number of domestic tourists, said Tadashi Shimura, president of the Japan Travel Agents Association.
Even before the pandemic, domestic tourism was a much larger contributor to Japan’s total gross domestic product than foreign tourism, according to JATA.
The total contribution of tourism to the Japanese economy in 2019 was 28 trillion yen ($211 billion), of which almost 80%, or 22 trillion yen, came from domestic tourists. Japan Tourism Agency report.
Despite an increase in Covid cases in 2021, Japan’s tourism spending still managed to generate 9.2 trillion yen this year, according to the JTA.
However, an increase in international arrivals to Japan is still vital, especially for the hard-hit hospitality, transportation and travel sectors, Shimura said.
Japan received about 32 million foreign visitors in 2019 and was on track to reach its 40 million target in 2022, Ejaz Ahmed, research analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said during a June 1 webinar.
However, due to the pandemic, the number of arrivals has dropped sharply, with only 250,000 foreign visitors in 2021, government data showed earlier.
The loss of international travelers has cost Japan “about 10 trillion yen over the past two years,” Shimura said, as spending by international students and long-term foreign residents brought in an average of 4.3 million yen per person per year. report Nomura Research Institute.
Travel agencies in Japan are gearing up for the return of tourists with package tours to famous destinations across the country.
All tours to Japan has six tour packages, including the “Golden Route Japan Tour”, which takes members on an eight-day tour of Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto for $2,698.
The daily limit on the number of incoming visitors, including Japanese citizens and returning foreign residents, doubled from 10,000 to 20,000 on June 1, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.
Local reports indicate that the government may increase the limit to 30,000 in July.
However, according to Shimura, these limits are too low, as the country accepted “140,000 [visitors] in a day.”
Countries are divided into three categories – blue, red and yellow – and depending on where they come from, additional restrictions may apply to travelers. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
Travelers from 98 countries and regions, including the US, UK, Singapore, and China, fall under the blue category and are not required to be tested or quarantined upon arrival or vaccinated for entry.
Travelers from any of the 99 yellow countries are also exempt from testing and quarantine on arrival if they have received three doses of their current Covid-19 vaccine. The category includes countries such as India, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.
Those arriving from “red” countries such as Fiji, Pakistan and Sierra Leone must be tested upon arrival and quarantined for three to seven days.