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End of Japan COVID curbs triggers surge in visitors to nearly 1 million in November

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I'm in Osaka and just on the street downtown most days I can tell you that there are not many foreign tourists.

I think many in that initial surge were friends and family members visitingb those already living in Japan.

It's going to take a long time for the tourism industry to fully recover and economic headwinds aren't helping.

13 ( +34 / -21 )

Still, arrivals were down nearly two-thirds compared with pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

Comparatively, October 2022 overseas arrivals to the U.S. remained 30% below October 2019.

Comparing arrivals in all of 2022 (so far) to all of 2019 using UNWTO data:

UK, 36% down

Germany, 33.3% down

Norway, 17% down 

Spain, 16.5% down

France, 15.3% down

Sweden, 13% down

Portugal, 8.6% down

Denmark, 2% down

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/travel/news/why-britain-remains-the-sick-man-of-europe-when-it-comes-to-tourism/ar-AA15jd22

10 ( +14 / -4 )

We had booked our trip for November and luckily Japan opened in October so we were thrilled to go. I had no problem wearing masks and we had an incredible time.

8 ( +16 / -8 )

Let's drop these stupid masks now then!

7 ( +30 / -23 )

Foreigners were prevented from visiting Japan during the pandemic until October. Foreign residents were prevented from entering Japan for most of 2020 and were only lifted in May 2021.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

As nice as it was to have the ski slopes to myself, I hope the ski grounds have a lot of visitors. These past few years have been really hard for them.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Baby steps... small progress is better than none. If other sectors of industry are revived, why not the tourism sector too?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Let's drop these stupid masks now then!

It's not a legal requirement to wear one. I see many smart tourists humping their luggage around mask free. It's the locals that need to be told to remove them.

5 ( +22 / -17 )

still restrictions in Japan

The need for 3 injections is still there

OR

A PCR test is still needed if not

5 ( +12 / -7 )

I was happy to wear masks if that's what was required to visit Japan. It wasn't that hard.

5 ( +15 / -10 )

It's not a legal requirement to wear one

It's not illegal not to wear a mask if you're japanese.

A maskless japanese is just a random guy in the crowd.

Now try doing the same thing while white.

As I move primarly by car/motorcycle I only wear this thing when I'm indoors with lots of people (malls etc) and that's already suffocating for me. Can't go a full week without unlocking the car again to grab the silly mask that serves me for absolutely no purpose but not to stand out as the evil gaijin

5 ( +15 / -10 )

I was happy to wear masks if that's what was required to visit Japan. It wasn't that hard.

Good for you, try having to do it for 2.5 years.

5 ( +15 / -10 )

So desperately want to visit.....have since all this began.

Travel ban has ruined alot of plans and visits that were to be had.

I am hearing that some hospitals are still very very overrun and over worked.

Makes me worried abit.....especially the article a few days ago of overworked school staff.....can't imagine what the staff at hospital are going through.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I bet all the non maskers like it nama.

Yep. Always the way to go for sure!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@finally rich: *One can only say this is a very unnatural behaviour.*

100% agree -wearing a mask in a crowded train during rush hour kind of makes sense during the tail end of a pandemic. Wearing it religiously outside makes no sense and just masks insecurities. Also, I understand why the elderly would cling to them but healthy young adults?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yeah, and airlines can’t keep up and prices are ridiculous. A messed up situation nobody is caring to fix

2 ( +3 / -1 )

From a cost perspective, Japan is quite reasonable right now

Not airline tickets to travel to Japan - not even close to being reasonable. I suppose Russi may have a very narrow perspective of how things work?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Given the situation in China, I hope visitors from there are discouraged from coming to Japan.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I can attest to what is going on over here where I live, in South Cal.

Only about 15% have chosen to get the omicron variant vaccine. Of the people who I know who got the latest booster, not a single one has gotten Covid. Of the people I know who did not get the newest booster, it seems that just about all of them are either sick with Covid, or are recently recovered. The good news is that this latest strain of the virus does not seem to be killing as many people. No one I know has died lately, whereas four people on this block passed away from the earliest strain, before the vaccines became available.

So, the latest strain seems to be very transmissible, but not as deadly. I hope the next strain is also less deadly.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

 Also, I understand why the elderly would cling to them but healthy young adults?

Sorry but you obviously do not understand lol

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I don't see the same visitor numbers coming back to Japan until they remove all extra entry requirements, not even if Chinese people were able to come back again to Japan.

I don't see same numbers coming back anytime soon because we have economic crises everywhere

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Welcome back.

Seen quite a few tourists in Shibuya Harajuku and lined up fo their snaps with Hachiko the dog, great to see. Most wearing masks but they’re here for a short time so it’s easy to follow the… I live here so I can’t wear it till the day I pass.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Micheal Machida do as you please no one cares

-1 ( +16 / -17 )

Good,

The more the better for everyone.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

So

So what??..

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It would be good to know how many are coming for business, not tourism. Can see a few tourists in Tokyo, but numbers are not huge.

Flew back home to Europe two days ago and the flight was 40% full.Japanese tourists are not flying overseas anymore as it used too. Only 8 in a group. All elderlies are I think scared to catch Covid. Nice to see no masked people here.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Haven't been here a few days, maybe a week, last time I was here deaths around 240, seems we have a record number of deaths today, surprised me, but just a little

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Discard the useless masks.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

in short rich chinese toursist who spent over did not come.rest of tourist have spent a fortune for tickets already so not much in pocket left for some pricey omiyage.

another thing need to consider is that amount of people abel to travel to Japan and spent reasonable money get down sharply since many have much lower income than say 3-4 years ago and even weakened yen/getting stronger now little by little/=people have less in pocket will spend less.

its good to see some fresh tourists somewhere but its not something will save this debt ridden economy.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

But it's still going because everyone is foolishly wearing masks around, hospitals have weird visiting restrictions going on etc.

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

This is my first time back in 2 years to visit family and of course eat some of the best food.

I also only wear a mask when I only thick it is necessary not when some Japanese government official tells me too.

All I can say is it is great to be back.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Great news! Bring in the tourists!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

It's been reported in many outlets throughout the world: only the most insecure part of the population loves masks. Something they rabidly defend without even thinking about covid. Imagine someone who feels good by hiding their own faces from the public while having a walk outside. Or at the workplace. Getting groceries. "But it gives me confidence to talk with other people"

One can only say this is a very unnatural behaviour.

To each his own. As long as they don't start forcing this illness on others.

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

The only thing surging is Covid and Covid deaths …/

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

This 'tail end of the pandemic' looks to be likely to have the biggest sting so far. Just check Worldometers, and you will see Japan currently ranks 7th in overall cases, and is head and shoulders above any country for daily deaths at the moment. The latest daily figure for Japan is 339 deaths, while the closest 'rival' is South Korea at 62. Up to now, the highest daily deaths figure has been 347.

Everyone getting excited over the return of mass tourism here, specially if it's likely to come from China, which is in the middle of a surge of unknown proportions, (they have dodgy reporting system to massage their figures, so noone really knows) might like to think of what it might mean if your health system gets overrun again this winter. Even if you have something mild, get injured or have some other health issue, you might find you don't get the medical attention you need. Having been turned away over this summer, I can tell you that's scary.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Though masks may not be legally required, I haven't seen any store or other public access building without a sign requesting them to be worn. Japan would be much better without those signs, and everyone just taking off that awful mask.

-3 ( +16 / -19 )

Now try doing the same thing while white.

Do so everyday. Guess what, I don't give a toss what the locals think - as someone said above, I stand out anyway.

A mask didn't stop me getting covid, in Japan while being vaccinated. It's just a security blanket for the insecure.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Excellent, good for Japan..

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

It's nice to welcome these visitors from afar but I am a little concerned about their health. After all, the coronavirus is still running rampant in Japan with thousands of cases reported every day and no end in sight. I hope these travellers will be able to enjoy all the wonderful things that Japan has to offer without getting sick.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

One of my chums from the UK is coming over for a trip in January, first chum I will see from Blighty since Feb 2020.

I am on Shinkansen now there is a distinct lack of foreigners compared to pre Covid.As far as Osaka goes I see quite a few around Den Den Town and Shinsaibashi but very few elsewhere, even round Umeda.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Please drop the pre-flight PCR testing as well. An unneeded expense with no benefit.

-4 ( +11 / -15 )

I bet all the non maskers like it nama.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Unlike Japan, most people outside Japan have not got a booster shoot (not to mention that Japan has become the ONLY country in the world that is asking for booster shots for entering a country), which means that most people will need a PCR test to enter Japan, which has become more and more difficult for most of the world, with most free PCR test centers getting closed, places that do PCR test becoming more and more rare, with high costs, not always being able to get the tests on time, and also there is always the risk of testing positive before your travel.

Also there continue to be problems with airlines not being 100% sure of how the whole rules work (for example, there have been problems with the Airline not understanding that Visit Japan Web or the QR code you get from is ONLY for fast track, but they are not mandatory according to Japan).

I think these problems are one of the big roadblocks for Japan to get Visitors back, as it is seen as too much of a hassle and a risk to just go for a vacations in Japan.

Not to mention that in reality this is all for show, if you have got into Japan recently, you will know that they do not even check the QR code, they just let you pass if you show you have a QR code.

I don't see the same visitor numbers coming back to Japan until they remove all extra entry requirements, not even if Chinese people were able to come back again to Japan.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

@Andy - Coughs and Sneezes Spreads Diseases. So cover up, when in enclosed spaces....

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Still, arrivals were down nearly two-thirds compared with pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

Reality bites.

-5 ( +11 / -16 )

I think many in that initial surge were friends and family members visitingb those already living in Japan.

That's what I was thinking too.

It's going to take a long time for the tourism industry to fully recover and economic headwinds aren't helping.

Agree.

-5 ( +14 / -19 )

Good for you, try having to do it for 2.5 years.

ive been doing it for 2.5 yrs not a problem,

i wear it when i go into a business, supermarket , crowded area.

when im walking down the rd with very few people around, in my car, in my home I dont.

its very easy and common sense approach. guess what ive been triple vaxxed so has my family inlaws, none of them caught covid.

now were going on the go to travel campaign, Id like to thank the antivaxxers for help funding it with their tax yen, cant get a refunded if youre not vaxxed. LOL

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

100% agree -wearing a mask in a crowded train during rush hour kind of makes sense during the tail end of a pandemic. Wearing it religiously outside makes no sense and just masks insecurities. Also, I understand why the elderly would cling to them but healthy young adults?

Cant have said better.

This has nothing to do with covid, and I've noticed this strange japanese phenomenon on my very 1st year.

Like the female coworker that you have no idea of how she looks even after having shared the same office for many months.

Or the elder neighbors that never leaves their house without their obaasan hats (most times coupled with a mask) that hides most of their face, hair (even to throw out the trash for a few seconds).

I'm perfectly fine with these as I'm able to make a clear distinction between cultures/peoples but hiding your own face to feel comfortable is one of these asian things I will never ever do even if I spend the rest of my life in this place.

I bet all the non maskers like it nama.

Is that how they're calling normal people these days? Oh my...

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

@ian - no I don’t think you understand. Paper masks don’t work. High grade N95 type yes but how many do you see wearing those? Otherwise they mask insecurities and are pathetically sad to see in a supposedly advanced society.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Reality bites

So

First to say something are the negative nellies.

It is a good start especially since so many were say "who is going to come to mask Japan?" etc ..

Numbers of travelers are down worldwide few to still existing restrictions in other countries.

For a one month difference this is positive news, slowly the world is getting back to living not hiding in their basements.

-6 ( +20 / -26 )

As I move primarly by car/motorcycle I only wear this thing when I'm indoors with lots of people (malls etc) and that's already suffocating for me. Can't go a full week without unlocking the car again to grab the silly mask that serves me for absolutely no purpose but not to stand out as the evil gaijin

Stop being so dramatic.

You're a foreigner, you are going to stand out regardless.

i wear it when i go into a business, supermarket , crowded area.

when im walking down the rd with very few people around, in my car, in my home I dont.

Exactly! A common sense approach.

now were going on the go to travel campaign, Id like to thank the antivaxxers for help funding it with their tax yen, cant get a refunded if youre not vaxxed. LOL

lol

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

And, Covid19 deaths also surge in Japan, It's worst level in whole world.

Medical services are in crisis but LDP government and major media who prioritize economy than the life of citizen continue to ignore Covid19 victim increasing.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Without masks, how can you show everyone that you are a responsible citizen? Never mind that the mask often covers neither the nose, nor the mouth. Most important of all, wearing a mask exempt you from showing normal consideration towards others. Even if you run over someone with your bicycle, you can always say "I didn't do anything wrong! I was wearing a mask!".

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Remove all entry requirements and the useless masks and that will go back to normal very quickly!

-11 ( +11 / -22 )

I am American in Japan for about 22 years and I will wear my mask until I deem it fit. Not when you deem it fit.

-13 ( +20 / -33 )

So

-32 ( +2 / -34 )

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