Japan’s travel curbs choke off chance for tourism recovery on weak yen

Japan’s travel curbs choke off chance for tourism recovery on weak yen

Tourists sporting protecting face masks following an outbreak of the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) are seen at Asakusa district in Tokyo, Japan March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Ju-min Park/File Photo

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TOKYO, Sept 7 (Reuters) – Japan additional relaxed its border an infection controls on Wednesday, however its insistence on customer visas means the yen’s plunge will not translate to a tourism growth any time quickly.

The authorities raised the every day ceiling of inbound vacationers to 50,000 from 20,000 and scrapped a requirement for guests in addition to returning residents to bear pre-departure COVID-19 checks, easing what have been among the many most restrictive border measures amongst main majors.

Travel bookings have elevated because the easing was introduced final month, however a real recovery might be delayed so long as guests are nonetheless required to get visas to enter the nation, stated Japan Airlines Co. (9201.T) govt Koji Masumura.

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“Although the quantity has been raised to 50,000 individuals this time, my private guess is that it’s going to not attain this stage with out the participation of abroad particular person travellers,” Masumura stated.

The yen has depreciated quickly in current weeks, breaching 144 to the US greenback on Wednesday, the weakest in 24 years.

While sounding concern about “one-sided strikes” within the foreign money, Chief Cabinet Hirokazu Matsuno Secretary advised reporters the foreign money weak spot might have deserves as border controls ease.

Those benefits is not going to be realised if guests can not get in, nonetheless. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has pledged to deliver Japan extra in step with fellow Group of Seven nations, however the leisure has been too gradual for many companies.

Japan formally let in vacationers in June for the primary time in two years, however solely about 8,000 arrived by means of July, in contrast with greater than 80,000 guests a day earlier than the pandemic.

Tourists should nonetheless register with licensed Japanese travel companies earlier than making use of for a visa at embassies and consulates, the place they’ll take months to get a reservation, in accordance with travel trade sources.

Masakazu Tokura, chairman of the highly effective Keidanren enterprise foyer, stated on Monday that the easing of border measures wasn’t sufficient. Foreign chambers of commerce have stated the shortage of visa-waiver eligibility for enterprise and vacationer vacationers dangers Japan falling behind economically.

“We are grateful for the weak yen, however international vacationers are nonetheless required to acquire visas,” stated a spokesperson for the Japan Association of Travel Agents. “We wish to see them take another step to ease the scenario.”

Prior to the pandemic, Japan had visa waiver agreements with almost 70 international locations, together with all European Union international locations, the United States, and lots of Asian neighbors.

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Reporting by Rocky Swift and Maki Shiraki; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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