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News of countries lifting travel restrictions have been circulating around the internet lately, and travelers are all kinds of excited for it. The national governments, however, have yet to make official decisions to reopen borders to avoid another wave of Covid-19 cases and contain the outbreak within their states. They are currently deliberating on ways to bolster recovery from economic losses through the tourism and trade industry post-pandemic. For one, Sicily, Italy, has promised to shoulder 50 percent of incoming tourists’ expenses through discounted flights, slashed hotel rates, and free tickets to several of the island’s attractions including museums and archaeological sites.

The Japan government is also eyeing the same proposal, but for the benefit of local travelers.

Due to a 99-percent decline on its once booming tourism sector brought about by city lockdowns worldwide, the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) plans to cover half of domestic tourists’ expenses by allocating ¥1.35-trillion-budget (around $12.5 billion) as a way to encourage citizens to travel again.

According to a news report by the Japan Times, Hiroshi Tabata of JTA stated that the government seeks “to boost domestic tourism by subsidizing a portion of travel expenses once the coronavirus outbreak is brought under control.”

If the plan gets the go signal, it may be immediately implemented as early as July, but nothing is set in stone.

Not to further raise any false hope—the Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has recently proclaimed a travel ban from 111 countries, including the Philippines. The government had initially ordered visa suspensions and/or 14-day quarantine period for all arrivals from these countries to maintain strict border control measures. The ban, which takes effect this Wednesday, May 27, also applies to foreigners who have visited these countries within the last 14 days.

The list of countries banned from entering Japan includes:

Asia—Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam

Oceania—Australia, New Zealand

North America—Canada, United States

Latin America and the Caribbean—Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Uruguay

Europe—Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vatican

Middle East—Bahrain, Iran, Israel, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates

Africa—Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritius, Morocco, Sao Tome, and Principe












Source: Manila Bulletin (