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Japan reopens for group tours this month

Japan is starting to open its borders to tourists for the first time in 2 years. But the movement comes on a very limited basis.

The nation will allow foreign tourists to enter the country starting June 10, but only for those in package tour packages and fixed guides.

“Free and active human exchange is the foundation of the economy and society, as well as the development of Asia,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a speech last week announcing the move.

Currently, the country allows the entry of up to 10,000 people a day, including Japanese citizens, foreign students and some businessmen. This number will rise to 20,000 in June and will gradually increase as long as coronavirus infection rates remain low.

Opening borders for packaged tourist groups includes a test exemption and quarantine for those who have received three doses of COVID vaccine.

Japan is in the middle of a plan attempt, currently hosting package tours for 50 people from Australia, the United States, Singapore and Thailand. But that plan was hit when one of the tourists tested positive.

The traveler was in Oita when the infection was confirmed on Monday, according to him Styles Kyodo. The traveler and the other members of his group, who were tested negative, secluded themselves in a hotel from the discovery.

Officials said the news would not affect the June 10 plan to open the borders.

Details of the tours that will be allowed to operate and where visitors will be able to go are still being decided, Makoto Shimoaraiso, a Cabinet official in charge of the pandemic measures, told the Associated Press.

Shimoaraiso said that there is no chronology for the moments when individual tourists who are not part of a tourist package would be allowed in the country.

Border closures have had a dramatic impact on Japan’s tourism industry, with foreign arrivals falling by more than 90% in 2020.

The tourism industry generated about $ 31 billion in savings in 2019.

Those in the tourism industry are struggling to resist, especially with a massive expansion that took place in anticipation of the 2020 Summer Olympics, which took place a year late and without any spectators.

Hideaki Kageyama, operations manager for hotel operator Resol Holdings, told Reuters that the Olympics were a total blast for the company, which opened four new hotels in the months leading up to the Olympics and before the pandemic hit.

“You can’t pay bills, rent, labor without inbound tourism,” he said.

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