Sydney – Australia on Wednesday resumed entry by Japanese nationals after a 21-month ban as part of a broader move to ease its COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Yasuko Inoue, 70, arrived in Sydney on a Japan Airlines flight to see her grandchild born in Australia in January. “I’ve been waiting all this time for this moment,” she said.
Australia opened up its borders to travelers from Japan and South Korea, as well as students and skilled workers from many countries, on the condition that they are fully vaccinated. Some cities such as Sydney require a 72-hour self-quarantine upon arrival.
The country closed its borders in March 2020. The number of entries to the country declined from about 2.26 million in January that year to around 15,000 in October this year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Japanese travel agencies in Australia are hoping for a revival in travel demand from Japan.
Hisaki Taguchi, 60, head of an Australian unit of a Japanese travel agency, noted that Australia is a popular destination for Japanese high school students thanks to it being an English-speaking country and its reputation as a safe country.
Taguchi said that counseling for young people regarding traveling to Australia made up around 30% of the subsidiary’s total revenue prior to the pandemic. “We have hopes for an increase in students and working holidaymakers,” Taguchi said.
Meanwhile, the Australian tourism industry is hoping that Japan will ease its entry restrictions, as Japanese ski resorts are popular among many Australians.
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