Japan is set to more than double the number of people it allows into the country and could eliminate the need for a negative Covid-19 test. The daily limit for tourists will be increased to 50,000 next month from the current 20,000, FNN television reported, citing unnamed government officials. Now, Travelers are required to submit negative results from a PCR test performed within 72 hours of departure for Japan. Before the pandemic, the country known for its vibrant cities and unique culture was in the midst of a tourism boom, with inbound visitors hitting a record high in 2019. Airlines, hotels, and retailers are all eager to recover lost business. The limited number of tourists allowed into Japan spent 120 billion yen ($872 million) last year. In 2019, they spent 4.8 trillion yen, or 40 times more, according to the Japanese Tourism Agency.
Shares of airlines rose in Tokyo, according to the news, and Japan Airlines Co. was up 3.5%. ANA Holdings Inc. gained 2.1%. An initiative started three months ago, with limited fanfare, started letting in a limited number of tourists. But associated restrictions — including mandatory masks, temperature controls, and limited circulation — and entry test requirements have made it difficult to attract visitors. The ongoing restrictions are comparable to places like Australia, Singapore, and the UK, which currently impose few or no entry restrictions and are getting a head start in reviving their beleaguered tourism industries.