Tokyo, Aug 31 (EFE).- Japan will increase its daily entry cap to 50,000 from next week and will allow the arrival of foreign tourists without the need to be accompanied by a guide to boost its tourism sector.
Since June, Japan has allowed the entry of foreign tourists in organized tours with a guide, but starting Sep. 7, they will no longer need to be part of a package tour, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said at a press conference on Wednesday.
However, a travel agency will continue to be required to arrange the visit, although Kishida did not specify what specific criteria will determine the feasibility of this type of tourism.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Japan suspended the visa exemption arrangements for short-term visits (up to three months) that it had with 68 nations.
Since the suspension, those traveling to the country have been required to obtain a valid visa, a measure that remains in place.
Kishida described the latest easing of restrictions as another step towards bringing Japan’s border measures on par with the rest of the G7 countries, and said the country will continue to study the evolution of the pandemic both inside and outside its territory to continue easing restrictions.
Wednesday’s announcement comes a week after Kishida announced that, from Sep. 7, Japan will stop requiring all travelers, including Japanese citizens and foreign residents and visitors, to present a negative PCR test result upon arrival as long as they have a certificate showing they have received three doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Japan’s strict border measures are the main factor deterring tourists from traveling to the archipelago.
In 2019, before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Japan received 31.9 million tourists.
In 2021, that number dropped to 246,000, according to data from the National Tourism Organization. EFE