Japan to open its doors to foreign tourists after 2 years

Japan to open its doors to foreign tourists after 2 years

On October 11, Japan's decision to open its doors to foreign visitors after more than two years of pandemic-induced restrictions comes as the government announced a travel subsidy program for domestic travelers.

Foreign visitors will get more bang for their bucks due to the current weak yen versus foreign currencies.

The current 50,000-person limit on daily entry into Japan will be eliminated, as well as the need for visas for short-term tourists. Individuals can plan their own trips to Japan without going through travel agencies.

The visa requirement was considered a big deal for foreign tourists, but from October 11 nationals from 68 nations and regions, including the United States, will no longer need visas. That will return the status to before the outbreak of COVID - 19.

The weak yen is a factor in the government's attempt to draw in foreign tourists.

A negative COVID- 19 test result prior to departure is the only requirement that will remain in place for foreign tourists. The requirement will be waived if the visitor can prove they have received three COVID- 19 vaccines.

The government will finally implement its domestic tourism promotion measure on October 11. Up to 8,000 yen $56 per night, a subsidy of as much as 40 percent of the travel cost will be applied to trips anywhere in Japan. The discount program was limited to destinations in the same or nearby prefectures until now.

The program is similar to the Go To Travel program in 2020. Government officials were hesitant to start a new discount program, while COVID 19 cases were increasing, learning a painful lesson from the Go To Travel program, which was criticized for leading to a surge in infections as people moved around the nation.

The travel discount program was announced in June, but it was delayed from the originally planned July date because COVID 19 cases remained high.

Domestic travelers should take longer trips to destinations that are closer to home, according to those in the travel industry.

Shinichi Inoue, President and CEO of All Nippon Airways Co., met with reporters on Sept. 23 at Tokyo's Haneda Airport and said that the autumn colors season will begin mainly in Hokkaido so the timing is very good for the start of the travel discount program.

The Japan Tourism Agency hopes to use up the 830 billion yen set aside for the program by the end of the year.