UAE nationals return to Japan at pre-covid levels

UAE nationals return to Japan at pre-covid levels

Visitor numbers expected to increase further from March's cherry blossom season 

Since the easing of border measures on 11 October 2022, and the subsequent introduction of a full visa waiver for UAE nationals, Emiratis have been flocking to Japan at levels comparable and even greater than those experienced prior to the pandemic.

The surge in visitation is expected to increase further still from March 2023 as many tourists travel to Japan to enjoy the seasonal cherry blossoms. Visitation from UAE nationals has already increased with 1,264 visits in December which is 19% higher than December 2019.

Visiting Japan for the cherry blossoms is an aspirational experience for many GCC nationals. Although cherry blossom peak timings of many main cities in Japan, including Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, coincide with Ramadan this year, there are many cherry blossom spots in the northern regions of Japan, such as Tohoku and Hokkaido regions, where peak blossoming is expected to coincide with Eid al-Fitr.


Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Dubai office executive director Kobayashi Daisuke said: “The swift return and strong travel demand to Japan by UAE and GCC nationals has been incredibly heart-warming and encouraging. 

"To facilitate travel and ensure that quality and diverse travel packages are available, we recently held tourism seminars for the UAE’s leading travel agencies and industry partners in both Abu Dhabi and in Dubai. The eagerness and desire of many to proactively promote Japan as a ‘new’ destination and as a ‘culinary destination’ to their clients was overwhelming.”

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Daisuke added: “We hope many GCC nationals choose to visit northern Japan over the Eid al-Fitr celebrations to experience our cherry blossoms in magnificent settings. One of Japan’s most famous, picture-perfect locations for this that I would like to recommend is Hirosaki Castle in Aomori prefecture, or the picturesque port city of Hakodate in Hokkaido, which is perfect for strolls down its beautiful historic streets and parks which will all be in full bloom.”

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