Japan to resume tourism in June – but only for package tours

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Japan will resume tourism in June, with holidaymakers from 98 countries including Britain, the United States, Australia, France and Spain allowed to enter – as long as they are on package holidays

  • Japan to increase the number of airports accepting international flights to seven
  • It will take some time before visitors can come to Japan for individual tourism
  • Foreign tourist arrivals in Japan fell by more than 90% in 2020

Japan will open its borders to foreign tourists in June for the first time since imposing strict pandemic travel restrictions about two years ago, but only for package tours for now.

From June 10, Japan will allow entry of package tourists from 98 countries and regions, including Britain, the United States, Australia, France, Spain, Canada and China. Malaysia.

Japan will also increase the number of airports that accept international flights to seven, adding Naha in its southern Okinawa prefecture and New Chitose near Sapporo in northern Hokkaido.

All arrivals must test negative before traveling to Japan and many must be tested again upon arrival, although people who have been triple-immunized from certain countries can skip the additional test as well as a three-day quarantine required for others.

This week, Japan is hosting experimental small package tours from four countries: Australia, Singapore, Thailand and the United States. This experiment, which concerns only 50 people who received special visas, and not tourist visas, must end on May 31.

“The free and active exchange of people is the foundation of the economy and society, as well as the foundation of Asia’s development,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a speech at a Tokyo hotel on Thursday.

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Japan, while monitoring the infection situation, will gradually accept more tourists in stages at the pre-pandemic arrivals level, he added.

After facing criticism that its strict border controls were xenophobic, Japan began easing its restrictions earlier this year and currently allows entry for up to 10,000 people a day, including Japanese citizens. , foreign students and some business travelers.

Japan will double the cap to 20,000 a day in June, which will also include package tour participants, said Makoto Shimoaraiso, a Cabinet official in charge of pandemic measures.

From June 10, Japan will allow entry of package tourists from 98 countries and regions, including Britain, the United States, France, Spain, Canada and Malaysia.  Above is a photo of the Tokyo sunset

From June 10, Japan will allow entry of package tourists from 98 countries and regions, including Britain, the United States, France, Spain, Canada and Malaysia. Above is a photo of the Tokyo sunset

The scale of the package tours and other details will be finalized after officials assess the results of ongoing trial trips, he said.

It will take some time before foreign visitors can come to Japan for individual tourism, Shimoaraiso said.

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Japan also eased mask-wearing requirements this week. While masks are still requested on public transport, as well as in hospitals and other public establishments, people can remove masks outside where others are not there or talking. Despite the easing, most Japanese are so far sticking to wearing masks in public.

Japan’s tourism industry, hit hard by border controls, is eager for overseas tourism to resume. Covid-19 infections have slowed in Japan since the beginning of this year and the government is gradually expanding social and economic activity.

Kishida said during a visit to London earlier this month that he planned to ease border controls as early as June in line with the policies of other industrialized countries in the Group of Seven, but gave no further details.

Foreign tourist arrivals fell more than 90% in 2020, from a record 31.9 million the previous year, nearly wiping out the pre-pandemic inbound tourism market of more than four trillion yen ($31 billion). /£24.5 billion).

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