Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Aleksandar Pasaric
Japan Set To Reopen Borders To Independent Travelers And Lift Daily Arrival Limit This Month
After two and a half years of strict COVID-19 restrictions, Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida announced it will allow visa-free individual tourist travel again. On October 11th, the government will lift the daily arrival cap making it easier for travelers to see the best of the country’s attractions.
The government is also launching a nationwide discount program to boost travel to the country known as the “Land of the Rising Sun.”
The announcement came after much anticipation during a visit Kishida made to New York for the U.N. General Assembly, as Japan Times reports.
“I hope many people will utilize them,” Kishida said at a news conference. “I want to support the travel, entertainment, and other industries that have been struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.”
Among the most elated, Japan’s top two airlines – Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways – each applauded the lifted restrictions.
“We are extremely happy to see the long-awaited easing of restrictions,” Shinichi Inoue, president of All Nippon Airways, told reporters Friday. “We will increase flights from the end of October to welcome customers from abroad.”
“The economic impact of inbound travelers before the COVID-19 pandemic is said to be roughly ¥5 trillion, and we are pinning great hopes that there will be economic effects of similar size,” Inoue said, adding that the yen’s sharp decline against the dollar “will definitely serve as an incentive” for foreign people to come to Japan.
Japan Airlines also conveyed in a statement that it will fully prepare to welcome visitors and contribute to revitalizing the Japanese economy.
The Road to Recovery
Japan began opening its borders in June, however only to tourists on guided tours. On September 7th, the government began allowing nonguided tour visitors with flight and hotel bookings arranged through registered travel agencies. Both initiatives created frustration for many tourists who preferred greater flexibility during their stay.
Citing government sources, Kyodo News reported that vaccination requirements are still in place. Visitors to Japan must be vaccinated three times or submit a negative COVID-19 test result ahead of their trip.
October 11th also marks the beginning of its nationwide discount program. The program offers discounts for travel, entry to theme parks, sporting events, and concerts. Financial assistance of up to ¥11,000 ($77) per person for a one-night stay is eligible to those who meet vaccination or negative COVID test result requirements.