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Japan has reopened its borders and lifted entry restrictions for international tourists starting from 11 October 2022, after a gap of 2.5 years, as the government plans to boost its economy. The reopening of borders and a weakening yen are expected to make the country an attractive travel destination. Against this backdrop, the Japanese foodservice sector to benefit from a revival in tourist arrivals, says GlobalData, a data and analytics company.
Parthasaradhi Reddy, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The Japanese foodservice sector has been significantly impacted by the lack of tourism due to the COVID-19 containment measures, especially the requirement of visas for travellers from countries that were hitherto exempt from such requirements. Reverting to the old practice of visa-free travel will help improve tourism and on-premise consumption of food and drinks in Japan.
“Together with the country’s initiative to encourage alcohol consumption, it raises hopes of a recovery in the consumption of beverages. For instance, on-premise consumption of soft drinks is expected to grow by 3.8% in 2022, following the 11.6% and 2.9% decline in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Moreover, on-premise consumption of beer is expected to post double-digit growth of 12.5% in 2022 and 14.3% growth in 2023.”
International tourists coming from countries such as South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Australia will be exempted from visa procedures. However, they will be required to present COVID-19 vaccination proofs or negative COVID-19 results for entry into Japan.
Vishakha Rastogi, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments:“The mandatory signing requirement for escorted package tours will also be removed, which has been in effect since June 2022, along with lifting the cap on the number of arrivals, thus boosting the overall tourist sentiment.”
The revival in tourist arrivals will see an increased use of cashless payments across restaurants, including contactless credit cards and mobile payment services as a measure towards reducing contact. The visitors are also expected to avail the services of UberEats and Demae-can, the popular food delivery apps in Japan, to locate nearby restaurants.
Rastogi concludes: “Japan is also optimistic about the return of tourists due to the weakening yen. However, the shortage of regular workers in the foodservice sector will likely impact its growth prospects despite an expected increase in inbound tourism in the coming years.”
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