Rejoice! Japan is finally opening up, and as one of its key priority tourist markets with less COVID variants, we’re included in its restricted test travel scheme.
Yeah, the Singaporean obsession with travelling to Japan for holiday has finally paid off.
We’ve heard from the grapevine that Japan might be open for travel as soon as this month, and it’s now been confirmed.
However, there are a couple of major restrictions.
Firstly, only tourists from the United States, Australia, Singapore and Thailand will be allowed to take part in the tour package.
Secondly, tourists must adhere to a strict tour itinerary planned by travel agencies, and accompanied by tour conductors.
Essentially, it’s like a taste tester, or a control experiment for Japan and its travel agencies to figure out how best to re-introduce tourism while minimising infection risks.
However, when Japan will fully open its borders is still unknown. This is especially given its cautious approach towards opening up tourism, with polls consistently showing most members of public leaning towards the continuation of tourism restrictions – though results have been more favourable towards foreign tourism lately.
In fact, this tourism taste tester came after calls from industry leaders to open up borders to take advantage of the devalued yen (which has fallen to a 20-year low), encouraging greater consumption and hence, greater economic growth.
In 2019, 31.9 million foreign visitors flew to Japan, and they spent 4.81 trillion yen, which is well over 6 trillion SGD.
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