Tokyo (VNA) – Many
Travel agencies of Vietnam are taking steps to take advantage of the rebound in tourism to Japan in recent months after the Japanese government relaxation of entry restrictions.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, tourism was a major contributor to Japan’s economy. The number of foreign visitors to this country kept breaking records between 2013 and 2019, and reached an all-time high of 31.88 million in 2019. However, the pandemic caused this figure to drop to almost 4 .12 million in 2020 and 246,000 last year, mainly due to border closures.
The Northeast Asian nation has reopened its borders to international tourists in mid-June 2022 after a shutdown of more than two years, but some restrictions remained.
On October 11, he completely lifted border control measures for foreigners and reintroduced the visa waiver policy for short-term travelers. Additionally, the depreciation of the Japanese yen against the US dollar and the Vietnamese dong has also helped Japan become more attractive to foreign tourists.
Estimates from Japan’s National Tourism Organization show that the country welcomed 498,600 international arrivals in October, more than double the previous month and up 22.5 times from the same period last year. . Notably, visitors from Vietnam numbered 30,800, up 30 times year-on-year.
In the first 10 months of 2022, Japan recorded over 1.5 million international arrivals, up 616.7% year-on-year. This included 222,400 visitors from Vietnam, up 809.9% and ranking the second largest source of foreign tourists to that country.
Speaking to Vietnam News Agency, Le Thi Lua, a Vietnamese entrepreneur who has lived in Japan for 24 years, said Japanese people are very fond of Vietnamese cuisine. Japan’s economy has rebounded from the pandemic while its government has also fully reopened to foreign travelers since October, generating plenty of opportunities for the restaurant and hospitality industry.
Given this, she decided to open an 80-seat restaurant named Vietnam Sky in the Arakawa district of downtown Tokyo. She said the recently opened restaurant has attracted many customers, especially Japanese and Vietnamese.
Over the past few months, Yo Group, a company providing low-cost Japan tours for Vietnamese travellers, have also made preparations to welcome tourists from the Southeast Asian country, including purchasing new buses.
Meanwhile, the number of Japanese visitors to Vietnam remains modest although Vietnam has fully reopened to foreign arrivals since March 15 and dropped the COVID-19 testing requirement for air travelers since May 15, and many airlines, especially the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, has increased flights between the two countries.
Vietnam welcomed more than 484,300 international arrivals in October, up 112 percent, including 23,800 from Japan – ranking fifth among sources of foreign visitors to Vietnam. The 10-month number of foreign visitors is approaching 2.14 million, including only more than 77,200 from Japan, according to the Vietnam National Tourism Administration.
Masahiko Inada, head of the outbound tourism promotion division at the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA), said Japanese people love to travel to Vietnam, but they always worry a bit about safety in case pandemic when it comes to travel abroad.
However, he said the number of Japanese traveling abroad will gradually rebound.
Echoing this view, Tran Thuy, director for Vietnam at Thien Minh Group’s (TMG) Vivu Journeys, said Japanese people are generally cautious tourists and pay attention to all safety factors.
To attract Japanese visitors to Vietnam, TMG has designed suitable packages for them while developing its hotel system, she said, adding that it has worked almost continuously over the past two years, when it has carried out many investment activities but that many other companies have chosen to “hibernate” amid the suspension of international tourism./.