Japan is reopening visa-free travel and canceling daily arrival caps

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  • A380 All Nippon Airways MSN266 - Ferry Flight 2

    All Nippon Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    NH/ANA

    Airline Type:
    Full service provider

    Contact(s):
    Tokyo Haneda Airport, Tokyo Narita Airport

    Year of Establishment:
    In 1952

    Combination:
    Star Alliance

    General Manager:
    Yuji Hirako

    Country:
    Japan

  • Japan-Airline-Q1-Loss-Failure

    Japan Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    JL

    Airline Type:
    Full service provider

    Contact(s):
    Tokyo Haneda Airport, Tokyo Narita Airport

    Year of Establishment:
    In 1951

    Combination:
    One world

    General Manager:
    Yuji Akakaka

    Country:
    Japan

After Japan finally announced it was reopening to tourists, airline executives around the world were busy reviewing schedules. Limits on individual travelers and the number of tourists entering Japan each day will be lifted from October 11.


Asia-Pacific has lagged behind the rest of the world in terms of aviation recovery, driven by neutral policies in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and, to a lesser extent, Japan. Major Asia-Pacific airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways, AirAsia and Qantas have been affected by the lack of two-way traffic to these popular destinations.

Simple video of the day

Japan Airlines currently has 47 Boeing B787 aircraft and hopes to fill them with tourists to Japan. Photo: Vincenzo Pace I light flight


The Prime Minister wants visitors to come back

It goes without saying that the real casualties in Japan are domestic airline heavyweights Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways, which have been starved of inbound and outbound international passengers for the best part of three years. Before the border restrictions began, 31.8 million people visited Japan; This makes it one of the popular destinations in Asia. That drops to 250,000 in 2021 but now tourism is set to grow rapidly to pre-Covid levels, aided by a weaker yen. Before the outbreak, Japan allowed visa-free entry for visitors from 68 countries, including the US, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, who could stay for up to 90 days.

As Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told the United Nations General Assembly in New York yesterday, he hopes that more people will take advantage of the relaxed ban.

“We will reduce the number of people entering the country and continue to accept individual travel and visa-free travel. I want to support the travel, entertainment and other industries that have been struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Japan, along with its Northeast Asian neighbors, has maintained some of the world’s strictest pandemic-related restrictions, but that’s all about to change. The first relaxation was in June when people on guided tour groups were allowed to enter, a daily destination of 20,000 visitors. On September 7, it was expanded to include individuals who booked flights and hotels, and the daily ceiling was raised to 50,000. Travelers who have received three doses of an approved Covid-19 vaccine are not required to undergo PCR testing prior to arrival, but all require a visitor visa.

With Japan’s entry restrictions lifted, ANA will target inbound tourism from Hawaii for its Airbus A380s. Photo: Airbus

The weak yen is good for tourists

The opening to mass tourism coincides with the Japanese yen falling to a 25-year low against the US dollar. Not relying on the weakened yen to attract tourists, the government has launched a nationwide travel discount program.

According to The Japan Times, the program will fund travelers’ hotel stays, public transportation, sporting events, concerts, theme park admission and coupons to use at restaurants. A similar program was started but canceled due to the outbreak.

Japan, like Australia and New Zealand, responded quickly to Covid-19, banning Chinese nationals from Hubei province in January 2020. In April 2020, it banned the entry of citizens from 73 countries, including the US, the UK and the South. Korea. That was banned in 100 countries in May and increased again to 159 countries in August 2020. In the year It partially opened its borders to foreign students and business travelers in November 2021, but closed them a few weeks later when the Omicron variant was discovered.

The last Asian travel domino to fall is China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The good news is that in a few weeks, airlines will be able to resume operations in Japan and focus on an ambitious government-led tourism recovery.

Source: Japan Times



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