Tourism plan takes aim at visas

Kyodo

Anticipating a surge of foreign tourists in 2020, the government has revised a tourism promotion plan in the hopes of ensuring that economic benefits from the Tokyo Olympics are felt across Japan.

It plans to promote home stays on farms by posting information about participating host farms in several languages online, according to a draft of the plan seen by reporters on Wednesday.

Low-cost farm stays are especially popular among backpackers and students, according to the agriculture ministry.

The government also wants to double the number of duty-free shops across the country to around 10,000 by encouraging shops in rural areas to register for the status.

Limits that restrict duty-free status to electrical appliances and fashion goods are also set to be abolished in October so that items such as food, alcohol and cosmetics can be sold duty-free.

The draft document calls for visa requirements to be loosened further, following a move last July to drop tourist visas for travelers from Malaysia and Thailand. Japan is currently moving to do the same for visitors from Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.