ACI APAC Calls for Removal of Japan Travel Restrictions

Although the decision to reopen borders in Japan is widely seen as a positive step, restrictions on air travel and the entry of tourists imposed by the government are hampering its recovery in the tourism industry, ACI said ( Airports Council International) Asia-Pacific.

In a recent ACI Asia-Pacific study that analyzed the effectiveness of travel restrictions, the study found that travel restrictions like quarantine and testing are ineffective in mitigating the spread of Covid-19.

Japan’s restrictive borders are likely to hinder the direct, indirect and catalytic positive impact that air travel has on the national economy; Haneda airport in pictures

Research has further shown that the inevitable delay in identifying new variants means that transmission is already occurring by the time travel restrictions are imposed. Imposing continued restrictions on air travel will therefore have minimal benefits in preventing the spread of any potential new variants.

Stefano Baronci, Managing Director, ACI Asia-Pacific, said: “Restrictions on international travel do little to prevent the spread of Covid-19 but are having a significant impact on the economy, leading to the loss of jobs and businesses. Analysis shows that travel restrictions have largely failed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and have proven to be a deterrent to the resumption of aviation.

To help Japan’s tourism industry fully recover, Baronci proposes that Japan “consider removing all remaining travel restrictions and allow people to travel freely.”

According to Japan’s latest circular, about 200 countries have been divided into three risk categories – red, yellow and blue. These categories determine whether visitors can bypass quarantine and be subject to more simplified Covid-19 testing measures, according to Japan’s Foreign Ministry.

Baronci added: “A complete relaxation of travel protocols will give a greater boost to the country’s economy as well as to other countries in the region.”

In recent months, countries such as Cambodia, Singapore, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Australia have lifted restrictions on international air travel, with no negative impact on the national health system. Preliminary statistics from Phnom Penh, Singapore, New Delhi, Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi), Kuala Lumpur and Brisbane show that, overall, passenger traffic increased significantly between late February and May 2022.