Japan to promote wellness tourism

Himeji Castle in Japan

Japan is stepping up its health and wellbeing offerings in anticipation that the sector will see a spike in demand once its international border fully opens. National and local tourism bureaus have launched new programmes and are putting greater efforts into promoting spas, yoga classes, outdoors activities and healthy food.

Japan has the tourism resources to address the growing health consciousness of international travellers. Now, with increased government focus and support, more and more regions of the country are gearing up to offer programmes, said the Japan National Tourism Organisation.

Hotel Hisoca in Tokyo has begun offering wellness experiences as each of its 32 guest rooms has a private dry or mist sauna, and a stay includes relaxation drinks and fragrance oils.

Government officials in Japan announced it would begin welcoming a limited number of international travellers in May as part of a test tourism programme designed to gather information ahead of the country’s full reopening.

Japan will offer limited package tours to triple-vaccinated travellers from the USA, Australia, Thailand and Singapore to gain information for a broader resumption of tourism at an unspecified future date.

The limited international tour groups will receive approval from the government and must plan their itineraries ahead of time. Travellers also have to be accompanied at all times by tour operators.

Currently, only business travellers, foreign workers and approved visitors are allowed into Japan, but they must still provide a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours, fill out the necessary health forms and acknowledge the country’s COVID-19 rules and regulations.

In 2019, Japan welcomed 31.9 million tourists.

Japan sees massive potential in health tourism, but medical tourism is not on the list of priorities.