Home Travel Update: Japan To Test Limited Tourism In May, Ahead Of Full Opening

Update: Japan To Test Limited Tourism In May, Ahead Of Full Opening

by SharonKurheg

Earlier this month, the headlines that got travelers’ attention was that Japan planned to reopen to international tourists in June. The announcement had been made by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida while visiting London. So, you might say, right from the horse’s mouth.

“We will further relax controls, so that in June it will be possible to enter the country as smoothly as other G7 nations,” Kishida said.

The announcement still left many questions, since the entry rules for G7 nations aren’t all the same. As an example, the United States, Canada and Germany require foreign leisure travelers to be fully vaccinated, but Italy, France and the United Kingdom don’t. But everything would surely be clarified with time.

Now Japanese government officials have announced it would begin welcoming a limited number of international travelers in May. It will be part of a “test tourism” program that will help Japan gather information about health and safety protocols, as well as how to deal with Covid-19 infections among the trial participants, according to a statement released on Tuesday by the country’s tourism agency.

According to Reuters, Japan will offer limited package tours to triple-vaccinated travelers from the U.S., Australia, Thailand and Singapore, as a way, “to gain information for a broader resumption of tourism at an unspecified future date.”

Also as per Reuters, the government is aiming for a “phased relaxation” of border measures. The goal is to balance infection controls and ease of entry into the country, said Makoto Shimoaraiso, a Cabinet Secretariat official for Japan’s COVID-19 response.

“We are currently discussing concrete plans for border measures after June, including quarantine measures such as testing and standby (status),” he added.

The Japan Tourism Agency will plan the tours with travel agencies. Tourists in the tour groups will have fixed travel itineraries and will be accompanied by tour conductors at all times. No word yet on testing, quarantine, etc.

Japan has been slowly allowing students and business travelers to enter the country, with caps sometimes placed higher as time continue – they’re currently allowing up to 10,000 such visitors per day, with strict rules about vaccinations, quarantines and testing. However tourism has not returned to the country since it closed due to COVID in early 2020.

Feature Photo: pxhere

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