Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced further easing of Japan’s border restrictions in a speech at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Thursday, September 22. From October 11th, Japan will return to visa-free entry, remove all daily caps and most importantly, 68 countries including the US, Canada, Australia and Europe that were part of the pre-pandemic. Allows individual travel for travelers from Visa Waiver Agreement.
For two and a half years, Japan has had strict border rules, essentially closing its borders to non-residents and not seeing tourists until June of this year, when the country slowly began to open up. was. However, Japan imposed strict rules on tourists, mandating guided tours and capping the number of visitors per day. Tourist numbers have not risen as expected and industry experts have urged the Kishida government to remove these requirements. Initially, the government relaxed the requirements and raised the cap, but did not remove it completely. There continued to be a requirement for travelers to book through travel agents. International travel numbers did not improve significantly after this relaxation.
The tourism industry continued to lobby for the removal of the requirement for bookings through travel agencies. This was perceived as the biggest obstacle to returning to pre-coronavirus tourism levels. A TimeOut Magazine study found that having to book through an agent is keeping readers away from booking. Industry experts point out that tourists from Western countries prefer to travel independently.
With the announcement to return to pre-pandemic travel requirements, Japan will return to the travel requirements of the G7 countries. “We are a country that has prospered through the free flow of people, goods and capital,” Kishida emphasized in a speech at the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. I’m in New York to give a speech at the United Nations General Assembly on China’s invasion of Taiwan.
Tourism was a cornerstone of Shinzo Abe’s economic strategy, and he hoped to attract much-needed foreign investment to Japan. Abe’s plan aimed to increase the number of foreign visitors to Japan to 40 million by 2020. In 2019, Japan recorded nearly 32 million foreign tourists, providing a much-needed economic boost to the Japanese economy. Tourist levels have not recovered since June and remain just a fraction of his daily cap originally imposed. The move is expected to bring Japan closer to her 2023 pre-pandemic tourist arrivals.
The move comes in time for Japan’s 22/23 ski season, but it is unlikely to have a significant impact on tourist numbers to Japan’s ski regions, as many tourists are already making other plans for their 22/23 ski holidays. may be too late.
If you haven’t made plans for the 22/23 season, I highly recommend considering a ski trip to Japan. The yen has broken above the psychologically important 145 yen/dollar level. Why not take advantage of the lowest exchange rate in 20 years to explore Japan and its amazing powder? Part of the Epic Pass.
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