Japan urged to ease visa regulations
IATA has urged the Japanese government to ease its stringent visa regulations, as a means to driving the country’s aviation and tourism sectors. Addressing the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, IATA’s Director-General & CEO, Tony Tyler, cited the results of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, which placed Japan 76th in a list of countries granting visa-free entry. This compared to neighboring South Korea, which ranked sixth. “This is a big handicap if Japan is to make its ambitious target to increase inbound tourism to some nine million visitors this year with an emphasis on attracting international meetings,” said Tyler. The IATA chief also urged Tokyo’s main international gateway, Narita airport, to permanently reduce landing fees to 2009 levels.