Individual tourists are welcome again, but only those who book through an agent.

Travel agencies are the big winners as Japan opens up

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Japan is ready to welcome back more tourists.
Japan is ready to welcome back more tourists. Photo Credit: the.epic.man/iStock/GettyImagesPlus

Travel agents are the big winners of the move by the Japanese government to ease travel restrictions.

From 7 September, tourists will no longer be required to join a tour group to visit Japan. 

The government will allow tourists to enter the country without joining a guided tour when their visit has been arranged through a travel agency. 

The agencies that arrange tours are expected to manage their clients' schedules and Japan will continue to deny entry to individual travellers who don't make arrangements through travel agencies.

Airlines are expected to move quickly to restore schedules which were cancelled during the pandemic, while the hospitality industry overall will ramp up their Japanese business.

The Pan Pacific group has announced two new hotels scheduled to open in the first half of 2023. 

Bellustar Tokyo, a Pan Pacific hotel, and Hotel Groove Shinjuku, a Parkroyal hotel, will open within Tokyu Kabukicho Tower, Shinjuku’s new landmark skyscraper complex by architectural firm Kume Sekkei, designer of the Yayoi Kusama Museum in Tokyo.

Japan has taken a cautious approach to the reopening of borders with the result that international tourism numbers have slumped. The number of foreign tourists entering Japan stood at about 7,900 in July.

Pre-travel testing will be dropped for those who have been triple-vaccinated.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Japan would gradually ease border controls to allow entry procedures to be “as smooth as those of other countries”.

“We will speed up our efforts while balancing infection measures and social and economic activities,” the PM added.

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