Japan to make it easier for India and four other countries to get tourist visas
Posted on April 27, 2016
One of the keys of the Japanese government’s vision to lure more tourists from overseas is to ease terms for those visiting the country from the Philippines, India, China, Vietnam and Russia. A government meeting chaired by the country’s Premier Shinzo Abe came out with a roadmap to decide on the strategies for encouraging tourism, a crucial driver of Japanese economy.
Figures reveal that the Land of the Rising Sun has seen around 5.61 million visitors from the five countries mentioned above in the year 2015, accounting for 28.4 percent of its total tourists in that fiscal year. The new plan is to focus on these nations. Besides easing processes for citizens of these countries, Japan is also striving to improve the conditions within its shores to attract more overseas tourists.
The plan has set a target of having five million foreign tourists cruise on ships within Japan each year by 2020. Among other initiatives to be implemented by the government to achieve the target is to allow free Wi-Fi services at more places and to facilitate online reservations by foreigners in their own countries in top public transportation systems in Japan.
Also laid out on the table were some reforms to the rules that currently exist in the tourism industry in 2017. Certain problems that have cropped up in this industry include a rising number of fly-by-night travel operators and brokers whose primary aim is to fleece foreigners. This needs to be arrested if tourism is to be promoted.
As part of the guideline revisions, the Japanese government will now strictly oversee the way travel operators and other tourist-related agencies operate. It will have in place a new procedure to register travel agencies by allowing the Japan Tourism Agency and other attendant establishments to administer them. The government also hopes to put a stop to the unscrupulous practices, by some shops, of selling souvenirs at a higher price than the original ones.
In general, the broad plan envisages improving the charm of tourist attractions such as renowned buildings and parks. Also in the pipeline is a procedure to put in place more facilities for the benefit of the public. To meet the demand for authorised guides and interpreters, the existing procedure will be revisited to iron out any wrinkles and to respond amenably to requests of the tourists.
Indian tourists having Japan on their radar can take cognisance of are the efforts its government is endeavouring to make the East Asian country one of the most attractive destinations for sightseeing.