On the first weekend following the new entry procedures, foreign visitors are doing well, thanks to the weak yen.
After closing its borders to international tourists due to the pandemic and the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, Japan has made small but positive steps towards reopening the country.
In June, the Japanese government increased the maximum number of inbound travelers from 10,000 to 20,000 per day and removed the need for proof of vaccination and PCR tests for some countries. The only problem was that visitors had to be part of a supervised tour groupwhich was not ideal for many people, both in terms of expense and the restrictions it placed on the places they could visit.
However, that all changed on September 7, when a new round of changes came into effect, with arrival caps raised to 50,000 and the removal of the supervised tour group requirement. While travelers are now must book their trip as a package tourthis gives visitors greater freedom as to where they can travel and how much time they can spend at their chosen locations.
For many travelers, the places they most want to visit are Japanese storesnot only for the items they have been waiting for for a long time, but also for the possibility of purchasing them at very advantageous prices, since the yen is the weakest for 24 years.
Some of the travelers who took advantage of the weak yen the first weekend after the new travel requirements took effect arrived from countries as varied as England, Saudi Arabiaand Latviaas this next report shows, and they all have one thing in common: wallets full of cash to go shopping with.
As the report above shows, travelers stocked up on animated goods, souvenirs, and even bottles of sesame oil. One particular man from Singapore told the reporter that he spent 1.4 million yen ($9774.69) that day. Its transport includes expensive Louis Vuitton bags and high-end whiskeywhich he says are much cheaper to buy here, given the weak yen, as it would cost him three times more to buy the same items at home.
An American tourist couple in Akihabara, Tokyo’s otaku mecca, can be seen shopping a One Piece figurine and a DVD, before depositing 3,000 yen ($20.93) on a UFO capture machine at a local gaming center, then 4,400 yen on a Gundam model. They also buy half a dozen anime-related products for a total of 21,200 yen, and they were clearly delighted with their shopping, saying it was easy to buy a lot of things because the current conversion rate made the price of everything so cheap.
Even buying a Japanese-style engagement ring or wedding band is surprisingly affordable if you convert US dollars to yen right now, with a jewelry store in Ginza saying it saw already an increase in foreign customers.
With foreign tourists spending big on the first weekend since the new entry changes took effect, Japan can expect to see a huge increase in spending once the country finally reopens its borders without restrictions. According to government sources, this should not be long in coming, with an official announcement from Prime Minister Kishida expected in a few days.
Source: YouTube/ANNnewsCH via Yahoo! Japan, Hachima Kikou
Top Image: Pakutaso
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