Japan eager to lure rich foreign tourists to regional areas

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The arrival lobby at Narita Airport is crowded Wednesday after Japan eased its border controls to smoothly accept entry of travelers from overseas.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Japan Tourism Agency aims to enhance its efforts to attract wealthy tourists from abroad to regional areas across the country.

Expecting a full recovery in the number of inbound tourists, which has plunged due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency will select 10 model tourist sites within fiscal 2022 to help establish accommodation facilities and develop tourism resources that will appeal to wealthy people.

The agency plans to include related costs in its budget request for fiscal 2023, which will be submitted this summer.

On Wednesday, the government drastically eased its coronavirus-related border control measures. It doubled the maximum number of people allowed into the country per day to around 20,000.

The government is also set to resume the acceptance of foreign tourists on group tours Friday.

The model tourist sites will be selected on certain conditions. For example, there needs to be tourism resources recognized around the world and the readiness to make improvements to meet the needs of wealthy tourists.

The agency expects to dispatch experts and provide subsidies to the model sites to support the development of tourism resources for the wealthy.

Among visitors to Japan in 2019, before the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country, some 287,000 tourists each spent at least ¥1 million during a trip.