Japan Prepares to Welcome Tourists
The Japanese government said Tuesday that the country will start accepting visitors in stages. But foreign tourists will have to wear face masks and take out insurance to cover medical expenses that might arise from contracting COVID-19.
The first reopening step with be with guided tours, starting on Friday June 10. Japan’s tourism ministry has devised guidelines for travel agencies and hotels to help with the first wave of tourists in the country in over two years. The rules stipulate that travel agencies must receive consent from tourists to comply with certain measures. These safety measures will be clearly conveyed to the tour participants when they purchase their tour package. Tourists who fail to comply with the rules may not be able to take part in the tour.
Entry will be initially restricted to guided tours from 98 countries and regions presenting the lowest risk of infection, including the United States, Britain, China, South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand, Kyodo News reports.
The guidelines also list down several Covid-19 safety protocols for the travel agencies to follow. These rules stipulate that tour routes should avoid crowded areas and include facilities that thoroughly implement antivirus measures. Tourists, on the other hand, must notify their tour companies if they have Covid-19 within a week of returning home.
Agencies will also have to keep records of all tours including the routes and seating plans, so that they can identify close contacts if necessary.
There’s still no timeline for when Japan will fully reopen to independent tourists.