After two years of speculation, a few false starts and countless canceled speculative trips, Japan is reopening. This time, for real. Visitors from visa-exempt countries will be able to enter hassle-free, and the days of booking a ticket and taking off are pretty much back.
That’s the headline, but there’s more.
Almost in sync, two other major destinations in the region have followed suit, with plans to drop quarantine or open up completely. Taiwan reopens, and Hong Kong will finally deviate from the
mad China’s bureaucratic policies.
Asia heading for full reopening
You just can’t say Asia has fully reopened until China welcomes visitors or ends its zero-tolerance health strategy, but still – virtually all of the rest of Asia did it.
With news that Taiwan will open almost fully from October 13 and Japan will open unrestricted travel from October 11, there is new excitement in the region. Other flights are expected to resume on major carriers, including EVA, China Airlines (a Taipei-based airline), ANA and Japan Airlines.
More tourist destinations in Asia, including Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, opened several months ago, but this latest resistance has remained a mystery. Here’s what will change in the coming weeks and how it will have a huge impact on destinations across the region.
Taiwan removes most restrictions
From October 13, Taiwan plans to ease entry restrictions, including the removal of any quarantine or arrival test periods. The country flourished as a destination of diverse tourism opportunities in 2019 and is looking to pick up where it left off.
If you venture this way, Alishan Forest is beautiful and Chiayi is a foodie’s paradise. Further details on reopening plans and what is required to enter can be found here and here.
Japan prepares for tourism
After initial plans left us with disappointing restrictions, such as package-only guided tours, Japan is finally reopening in full.
People who could enter on a visa on arrival or visa program before can do so again from October 11. Proof of vaccination is still required to avoid any restrictions, but that’s about it!
It’s time to branch out beyond Tokyo and explore the delights of Osaka and other fascinating cities that remain far too overlooked by most visitors.
Hong Kong enters the tourism chat
Hong Kong is ending its mandatory quarantine period. That’s the good news. The bad news is that post-arrival testing and three days of “medical supervision” will still follow.
These and other factors mean that GSTP will be giving this once-loved destination a pass for a while, until things change. After seeing countless Penny Bay horror stories, the changes appear to be an extremely positive development for regional residents and visitors, but still perhaps a long way from being “open” to international tourism.
Good news for travel savings
Whether you fly to Taiwan or Japan as your final destination, or not, this is big news. With few airlines operating regular schedules, the correct routes or prices were very difficult to find. Seats using points were virtually non-existent.
As major airlines based in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan seek to revive international routes, there should be a significant drop in prices followed by a significant opening of seats in points. Additionally, hotels are expected to remain reasonable, with currencies such as the yen approaching all-time lows.