Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Japan may resume inbound tourism despite battling third wave

The government is considering allowing small tour groups from Asian countries where coronavirus infections are well under control.

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Japan has started to allow business travel from certain nations in Asia and Oceania but all tourists are still barred from entering the country.

However, there are reports in the Japanese media of a reopening plan.

The Asahi newspaper reported on Sunday that the government is considering the resumption of inbound tourism on a limited basis from spring as Tokyo prepares to host a delayed summer Olympics,

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s administration is considering allowing small tour groups from Asian countries where coronavirus infections are well under control, such as China and Taiwan, the Asahi reported without citing sources.

Suga’s government has already launched a programme to revive domestic tourism, but the scheme has been criticised as being premature because Japan is struggling with a third wave of coronavirus infections.

New cases have soared to record highs in Tokyo and Osaka. Numbers nationwide are also at record levels.

Under the new plan, international tourist groups would have to test negative for Covid-19 and submit a detailed travel itinerary before entering the country, the Asahi said.

They would travel only by hired coach and would be separated from other guests at their hotels. There would be no contact with Japanese tourists at sightseeing destinations. They would also be required to use a tracing app and give daily updates on their health.

A limited number of people are now allowed to travel to Japan for business but are required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.

Japan recently lowered its visit restrictions for the following countries: Australia, Brunei, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The Tokyo Summer Olympics was scheduled for this year but was pushed back to 2021 because of the pandemic.

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