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Japan further eases border restrictions, prioritises domestic travel

Despite the influx of COVID-19 cases last year, domestic tourism still brought in JPY9.2 trillion (USD64.4 billion)

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated that the country, to bring it to par with other G7 nations, will ease border restrictions in phases. Amstk/Shutterstock

NPR reported that Japan further eased its border restrictions to international tourists and began accepting visa applications on Friday. These, however, are only applicable to those on guided package tours who are willing to follow COVID-19 safety measures. Travellers are required to wear face masks at all times and acquire insurance to cover medical expenditures if they contract COVID-19.

The Japan Tourism Agency stated tours from 98 countries, including China, the UK, and the US, are currently being accepted.

While international tourists are welcome to enter the country again, the government’s priority is still to boost domestic tourism, as stated by Tadashi Shimura, President of the Japan Association of Travel Agents in an interview with CNBC.

The Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) reported that in 2019, approximately 80 percent, or JPY22 trillion (USD136.6 billion), of the JPY28 trillion (USD211 billion) contribution of tourism to the country’s economy came from domestic tourists.

Meanwhile, despite the influx of COVID-19 cases last year, JTA noted that domestic tourism still brought in JPY9.2 trillion (USD64.4 billion).

Japan had a 20-million target for foreign visitors in 2020, as the country was slated to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games. These, eventually, were pushed back a year, according to Kyodo News.

More: Japan slated to reopen its borders to international visitors in June

Japan’s government data released in May showed that its foreign visitors in April were down 95.2 percent from 139,500 in the same month in 2019.

Business leaders have suggested the government gradually reopen Japan’s borders to help the economy recover from the aftermath of the pandemic. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated that the country, to bring it to par with other G7 nations, will ease border restrictions in phases.

Airports in Naha and New Chitose, which are gateways to Okinawa and Hokkaido, will start welcoming foreign visitors by the end of June. Five airports, including Haneda and Narita, are currently accepting international arrivals.

The Property Report editors wrote this article. For more information, email: [email protected].

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