The number of visitors to Japan in the first half of this year recovered to over 60% of pre-pandemic levels, highlighting progress in the nation's road to becoming a tourism-oriented country once again. Still, the country faces many challenges, including serious labor shortages in the hotel industry.

"We've finally emerged from a long COVID-19 tunnel, with a recovery in international flight demand becoming evident," Shinichi Inoue, president and CEO of All Nippon Airways, told reporters last week.

The number of international flights operated by the Japanese airline is expected to recover to around 70% of pre-pandemic levels at the end of this month.