THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT IS LOOKING TO START ACCEPTING OVERSEAS TOURISTS WHO WANT TO TRAVEL TO THE LAND OF THE RISING SUN INDIVIDUALLY, NOT JUST TOUR GROUPS.
Japan reopened to international visitors in June, but tourists were only allowed to enter if they joined a guided tour and obtained a visa. This will soon change as the Japanese government decided to allow FITs, as long as their visit is arranged through a travel agency. The agent is expected to manage their clients’ schedules and tourists will be expected to follow the country’s guidelines if COVID cases are confirmed, and entry will be denied to individual travellers if they don’t make arrangements through travel agents.
Alongside this travel update, Japan announced it will no longer require incoming travellers to show a negative pre-departure COVID test from 7 September, provided they are triple vaxxed.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the government will soon decide on whether it raises its daily entry cap, which currently sits at 20,000. This limit, which was raised from 10,000 in June, includes Japanese citizens who are returning from overseas.
Kishida said that Japan aims to relax its COVID travel restrictions, which are criticised for being too strict, in line with other Group of Seven major economies. The current laws say that those who enter Japan have to show proof of a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of departure.
The government will change its detailed coronavirus reporting system, limiting it to elderly people and those at risk of developing severe symptoms.
Small group tours have kicked off in Japan with InsideJapan Tours – part of Inside Travel Group –launching the first western tour.
The Japan travel specialist has had three small group tours run in July with two more in August and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and demand for Small Group Tour places has remained high.
“Our first tour ran from July 3rd and it has meant so much to the team, the partners on the ground, the customers, and our agent partners to be able to send people to Japan again,” co-founder Simon King said.