Japanese Travel Agencies Race to Meet COVID-19 Requirements as Japan Reopens for Tourism

Japanese Travel agencies rush to meet recent government requirements released on Friday as Japan reopens for tourism.

Japanese tourism minister Tetsuo Saito said tourists would begin arriving in the country as early as next week.

However, with so many arrangements required to comply with government guidelines, tour agencies said it would take some time before Japanese airports would be full of overseas travelers again.

“We’ve received many inquiries from overseas travel agencies wanting to host tours (with us), so we are considering how they can be conducted based on the guidelines,” said spokesperson Harumi Kagawa of Kinki Nippon Tourist Co., one of the biggest travel agencies in Japan.

“There are additional things we need to do. By checking items off one by one, we hope it will lead to the next step,” Kagawa added.

According to reports, Kinki Nippon Tourist, JTB Corp., and other Japanese companies in the tourism industry plan to partner with like-minded agencies overseas but with new government guidelines, travel agencies said the first batch of tourists would likely arrive in July.

The new travel guidelines included travelers being part of a package tour, buying personal medical insurance, wearing masks in all public places, including outside, and avoiding the so-called “three Cs:” closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings.

Travel guidelines also require agencies to keep tabs on where their clients sit at tables and trains to ensure they can quickly determine close contacts.

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