Tokyo – Many
travel companies of Vietnam are taking actions to make use of the rebound of tourism
in Japan in recent months after the Japanese Government eased entry
Before the COVID-19 pandemic broke
out, tourism was a major contributor to the economy of Japan. The number of
foreign visitors to this country continually broke records between 2013 and
2019, and hit an all-time high of 31.88 million in 2019. However, the pandemic
triggered a nosedive in this figure to nearly 4.12 million in 2020 and 246,000
last year, mostly due to border closures.
The Northeast Asian nation reopened
its borders to international tourists in mid-June 2022 after an over-two-year
shutdown, but certain restrictions remained.
On October 11, it completely lifted
border control measures for foreigners and reintroduced the visa-free policy
for short-term travellers. Besides, the depreciation of the Japanese yen
compared to the US dollar and Vietnamese dong has also helped Japan become more
attractive to foreign tourists.
Estimates by the Japan National
Tourism Organisation show that in October, this country welcomed 498,600
international arrivals, more than doubling that in the previous month and
surging 22.5-fold from the same period last year. Notably, visitors from Vietnam
numbered 30,800, shooting up 30-fold year on year.
the first 10 months of 2022, Japan recorded over 1.5 million international
arrivals, up 616.7% year on year. That included 222,400 visitors from Vietnam,
soaring 809.9% and ranking second among sources of foreign tourists to this
Talking to the Vietnam News Agency, Le
Thi Lua, a Vietnamese entrepreneur who has lived in Japan for 24 years, said Japanese
people like the Vietnamese cuisine very much. The economy of Japan has been
recovering after the pandemic while its Government has also completely reopened
to foreign travellers since October, which is generating numerous opportunities
for the restaurant and hotel sector.
Given this, she decided to open an
80-seat restaurant named Vietnam Sky in Arakawa Ward in downtown Tokyo. She said
the newly opened restaurant has attracted many customers, including both
Japanese and Vietnamese.
In recent months, Yo Group, a company
supplying low-cost Japan tours for Vietnamese travellers, have also made
preparations to welcome tourists from the Southeast Asian country, including
purchasing some new buses.
Meanwhile, the number of Japanese
visitors to Vietnam remains modest though Vietnam has fully reopened to foreign
arrivals since March 15 and dropped the COVID-19 testing requirement for air
travellers since May 15, and many airlines, especially national flag carrier Vietnam
Airlines, has increased flights between the two countries.
Vietnam welcomed over 484,300
international arrivals in October, up 112%, including 23,800 from Japan –
ranking fifth among sources of foreign visitors to Vietnam. The 10-month number
of foreign visitors approximated 2.14 million, including only more than 77,200
from Japan, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.
Masahiko Inada, head of the outbound
tourism promotion division at the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA),
said Japanese people love travelling Vietnam, but they are still a little
worrying about pandemic safety when it comes to overseas trips.
However, he held that the number of
Japanese travelling abroad will gradually bounce back.
Echoing the view, Tran Thuy, Director
for Vietnam at Vivu Journeys of the Thien Minh Group (TMG), said Japanese
people are generally prudent tourists and pay attention to all safety factors.
To attract Japanese visitors to
Vietnam, the TMG has designed suitable packages for them while expanding
its hotel system, she said, adding that it has worked almost continuously for
the last two years, when it has carried out many investment activities but many
other firms chose to “hibernate” amid international tourism suspension./.