Published on : Monday, December 7, 2020
The Japanese government has started planning to consider the resumption of inbound tourism in Japan on a limited basis starting from the spring. The decision is being undertaken as Tokyo continues to prepare to host a delayed summer Olympics.
According to reports, Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s administration is leaning toward allowing small tour groups from Asian countries where coronavirus infections are well under control. However, Japanese government officials are yet to comment on the matter.
Suga’s government has also launched a subsidy program to revive domestic tourism, a key driver of economic growth in recent years. Unfortunately the scheme has been criticised because Japan is struggling with a third wave of COVID-19 infections. New coronavirus cases have spiked to record highs in major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka and number of serious cases nationwide has also risen to a record.
Under the new plan, tourists would have to test negative for coronavirus and submit a detailed travel itinerary before entering their desired location. Tourists would only be allowed to travel by hired coach and would be separated from other customers at their hotel and sightseeing destinations. Tourists would also be required to use a tracing app and give daily updates on their health, as per reports.
At present, a limited number of people are allowed to travel to Japan for business but are requested to self-isolate for 14 days. The Tokyo Summer Olympics was scheduled for this year but the event was pushed back to 2021 because of the pandemic. Progress in rolling out coronavirus vaccines has raised hope that global tourism can start to slowly recover from the large disruptions caused by travel restrictions put in place to curb the pandemic.