Japan throws open its doors to visitors this week after more than two years of pandemic isolation with hopes for a tourism boom face tough headwinds amid shuttered shops and a shortage of hospitality workers. From tomorrow, Japan shall reinstate visa-free-travel to dozens of countries, ending the world’s strictest border controls to slow spread the COVID-19.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida took the decision to help invigorate the Japan’s economy and reap some benefits from the yen’s slide to a 24-year low. Vaccinated tourists from most countries with no need for quarantine, PCR tests, or visas shall be allowed to visit the country and yen making hotels, restaurants, and shopping more affordable. Flag carrier Japan Airlines Co has seen inbound bookings triple since the border easing announcement.
31.8 million tourists came to Japan in 2019. The government of Japan had a goal of 40 million tourists in 2020 timed with the summer Olympics. Just over half, a million visitors came to Japan so far in 2022.