After more than two years of closed border policies, Japan is preparing to welcome international travelers this week.
Come June 10, foreign tourists traveling via packed tours can enter Japan.
However, Tadashi Shimura, president of the Japan Association of Travel Agents, said the government’s priority remains to increase domestic tourism numbers.
Even before the pandemic, domestic tourism contributed far more to Japan’s GDP than foreign tourism, according to JATA.
Total tourism contributed 28 trillion yen ($211 billion) to the Japanese economy in 2019, with nearly 80% – or 22 trillion yen – from domestic tourists, according to the Report from the Japan Tourism Agency.
Despite a spike in COVID-19 cases in 2021, tourism spending from those living in Japan still managed to generate 9.2 trillion yen that year, according to JTA.
However, Shimura said boosting international arrivals to Japan remains vital, particularly for the hard-hit hospitality, transportation and travel sectors.
Ijaz Ahmed, a research analyst at the Economic Information Unit, said during a webinar on June 1, that Japan received about 32 million foreign visitors in 2019 and was on track to meet its goal of 40 million in 2022.
However, the pandemic caused arrivals numbers to drop rapidly, and there were only 250,000 foreign visitors in 2021, government data previously showed.
The loss of international travelers has cost Japan “about 10 trillion yen over the past two years,” Shimura said, with spending from international students and long-term foreign residents bringing in an average of 4.3 million yen per capita annually, he said. report from Nomura Research Institute.
Travel agencies in Japan are preparing to return tourists with package tours to popular destinations across the country.
All tours of Japan It has six tour packages, including the “Golden Route Japan Tour” that takes participants on an eight-day tour around Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto for $2,698.
The daily limit on visitor arrivals – which includes Japanese nationals and returning foreign residents – doubled from 10,000 to 20,000 on June 1, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.
local reports It suggests the government may increase the limit to 30,000 people in July.
However, those limits are too low, Shimura said, as the country has been receiving “140,000 people.” [visitors] in a day.”
Countries are categorized into three categories – blue, red and yellow – and travelers may be subject to additional restrictions depending on where they come from, according to Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Travelers from 98 countries and territories – including the US, UK, Singapore and China – fall into the “blue” category and are not required to be tested, quarantined on arrival or vaccinated for entry.
Travelers from any of the 99 countries in the “yellow” category are also exempt from testing and quarantine on arrival if they have had three doses of an acceptable Covid-19 vaccine. The category includes countries such as India, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka.
Those coming from “red” countries, such as Fiji, Pakistan and Sierra Leone, must be tested on arrival and quarantined for three to seven days.