By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 28 May 2022 • 8:04
Japan to allow foreign tourists from June 1, the first in two years
Image: Pexels/ Ryutaro Tsukata:
Home to some of the toughest Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, Japan is finally allowing foreign tourists into the country for the first time in two years.
Japan in reopening its borders to tourists, is retaining some pandemic restrictions, with only 98 countries added to its list of those that will be accepted for travel. Countries on the list will be graded into three risk categories, red, yellow and blue.
Those in the highest category will be allowed to visit the country, but will have to undergo a quarantine stay before being allowed to travel.
Tourists will once again be able to visit the country from June 1, however the numbers are initially being limited to 20,000. Tourists will also have to visit as part of an organised tour that will be accompanied by health officials.
For the moment the freedom to travel on your own is still not allowed, the expectation being that this restriction will be lifted after the summer.
Japan’s tourism business has been hard hit with no foreign tourists having being allowed into the country since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with the number of foreign visitors falling by more than 90 per cent.
Travel agents, spoken to by the BBC, have responded warmly to the news.
Zina Bencheikh, Managing Director of Intrepid Travel, said: “We’re continuing to see a lot of interest in visiting Japan despite it being off limits for nearly two years. I’m sure there will be a rush in bookings as soon as borders are fully open.”
With many counting the cost of the closure and being critical of the government’s restrictions, James Greenfield, Managing Director of Japan Journeys, said: “The Japanese government is being very cautious.
“They want the first tourists to enter on guided tours, and we’re ready to do this and to do whatever is necessary to keep our customers happy and to recoup some income after more than two years without any.”
Japan is the last major economy to open its doors to foreign tourists, which will give a much, although limited boost to its tourism industry.
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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.
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