September 21, 2022 11:24
News that Japan is considering lifting COVID restrictions on foreign tourists has sent demand for trips to the island country through the roof.
According to Hana Tour on Tuesday, bookings to Japan surged 822 percent so far this month. Mode Tour also saw them surge 400 percent.
Plane ticket bookings also soared 343 percent at Interpark on Sept. 13, a day after news that the Japanese government is considering lifting a ban on independent travelers. Seventy percent of the reservations were for flights in October and November.
The Japanese government said on Sept. 12 that it will look into scrapping the daily limit on visitors, resuming visa-free entry and independent travel. At present, Japan caps the daily number of visitors at 50,000 and only allows group tours of travelers who have visas.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, 5-7 million Koreans visited Japan every year.
Japan is opening its doors as the yen weakened to a five-year low, stoking hopes of a boom for the Korean travel industry.
Airlines are boosting flights to Japan. Low-cost carriers are especially hopeful since flights to Japan had accounted for more than 30 percent of their revenues before the pandemic.
Jeju Air plans to increase daily flights to two each from Incheon to Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka. Air Seoul will resume flights to Tokyo next week and to Osaka and Fukuoka next month.
One airline industry insider said, "Most airlines have come up with plans to boost flights as soon as Japan announces visa-free entry."
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