Japan, here we come

September 14, 2022 11:20
Photo: Reuters

Why do we not feel the summer was gone?

As temperature surged to a record high of near 36 degrees after the moon festival, we almost thought the summer will be here to stay. Oh, that is likely because to many people, we have not taken summer vacation for almost three years.

But here comes a piece of game-changing news – Japan is opening up to foreign visitors.

Yesterday the government plans to allow individual tourists to come to Japan and exempt them from visas if they have been vaccinated three times or submit a pre-arrival test result.

The news is exciting enough for many Hongkongers who call Japan a second home, and the timing could not be better as the yen hit a 24-year-low.

Think about the red leaves, powder snow and all the Japanese delicacies on discount, which more than compensated for the paper loss of many who suffered from investing in almost all asset classes amid a strong US dollar.

The news still came as a surprise because Japan only eased its border restrictions last Wednesday when it raised the daily arrival cap to 50,000 from 20,000 and allowed non-guided tourists to come without pre-arrival PCR testing.

Apparently, many countries in the region are competing for tourists business in their move to fight against the global economic slowdown.
Singapore, for example, scrapped travel restrictions for unvaccinated travellers and indoor mask mandate in leading the region to the “Live with the virus” strategy.

That put enormous pressure on Hong Kong which is still struggling to find the best way to withdraw the quarantine arrangement ahead of its aspiration to host financial summit and Rugby Sevens in November.

Unfortunately, the current 3-day hotel + 4-day homestay, the social distancing measures and rapid antigen test put many visitors off coming to Hong Kong.

If Hong Kong has the same temperature as that of Singapore but with travel restrictions, why do they have to come here?

That is also why I think the number of people in Hong Kong would be fewer than usual in this lovely travel season because residents are trying to break away from boredom and going out to other neighbouring countries while visitors are just not coming.

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EJ Insight writer