KOMPAS.com - After more than two years of effectively banning foreign tourists to keep the coronavirus at bay, Japan is finally reopening to visitors. And that is timely given that a recent global study has placed Japan at the top of travelers' must-visit list.
On Wednesday, June 1, new regulations went into effect that lift the cap on arrivals from 10,000 travelers per day to 20,000 individuals.
Arrivals are also categorized into one of three groups; blue for people with at least two vaccinations and from low-risk nations and yellow for medium-risk countries with three doses of the vaccine.
Anyone arriving from Albania, Fiji, Pakistan, or Sierra Leone, even if they are fully vaccinated, falls into the red category and will be required to quarantine for at least three days.
Around 80 percent of arrivals will fall in the blue category, according to the government, including anyone coming to Japan from Germany.
Japan's travel industry eagerly awaits tourists
Visitors are at present required to join approved tour groups and are being carefully monitored, but — if all goes according to plan — that requirement is due to be relaxed on June 10 and travelers will be given more freedom.
Japan's domestic travel industry is predictably delighted at the news and is hoping that further easing of the restrictions will be forthcoming soon.
"The pandemic has hit us hard,” said Kei Tamura, director of Kyoto-based Cerca Travel Co. "We went from being busy and fully booked months in advance to zero overseas tourists in a matter of weeks," Tamura told DW.