Japan to allow small tourist groups to return in trial

Japan to allow small tourist groups as it tests tourism return Source: Pexels.baguspangestu

After nearly two years after closing its borders to tourism, Japan is to allow small groups of tourists to return in a trial.

The announcement of the trial on Tuesday, May 17, by the country’s tourism agency said that the test will allow the government to assess health and safety protocols. They added that it will also give them the opportunity to deal with Covid-19 infections among the trial participants.

The statement read: “This venture will allow us to verify compliance and emergency responses for infection prevention and formulate guidelines for travel agencies and accommodation operators to keep in mind.”

Initially planned for 2021, the trial was delayed by the arrival of the Omicron variant.

The trial will however not allow visitors from all countries, with only those that have been triple vaccinated from Australia, Singapore, Thailand and the United States being accepted initially.

In what is going to be a very controlled trial, the Japan Tourism Agency will plan the fixed itinerary tours along with the travel providers, and they will accompany tour groups at all times.

Japan has been under pressure locally to reopen it borders, as it has internationally. Currently, only 10,000 people are able to visit the country daily, but that number doesn’t include tourists and that has hurt many businesses. Currently, citizens, residents, researchers, students, residents’ family members and business travellers with prior approval can enter.

Quarantine restrictions remain in place for travellers from high risk countries, but the hope is that the tourism trial that will allow small groups to return, will provide the government with the reassurance it needs to reopen the borders fully.


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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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