October 12, 2022 11:12
Travelers rushed to Japan as soon as the island country lifted entry restrictions for tourists on Tuesday for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic started.
Incheon and Gimpo international airports were teeming with travelers from early morning arriving for the first flights.
Travelers shared on social media their experience of flying to Osaka or Tokyo. One 28-year-old tourist from Seoul said, "There were so many arrivals at Narita that it took about an hour to go through immigration."
Industry insiders expect travel to Japan to surge in November, drawn by autumn foliage and hot springs, as airlines boost the number of flights. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Tuesday announced that the flights between Gimpo and Haneda will increase from 28 to 56 a week on Oct. 30.
Flights to Japan from other Korean cities are also increasing.
Also fueling the demand is the weak value of the Japanese currency against the won, weakened to W980 per 100 yen recently.
Travel agencies are ready to cash in on surging demand. One travel agency staffer here said, "After Japan announced visa-free entry, plane ticket sales surged 20 times."
Now they are competing for tourists by designing budget packages, airline discount coupons and duty-free vouchers.
Japan's tourism industry is also trying to promote new attractions. Kyushu Tourism Organization held a presentation in a hotel in downtown Seoul on Oct. 5, where 30 travel agencies from the prefecture explained changes since the pandemic.
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