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Travel & Leisure

Japan's hotels and retailers eagerly await return of tourist cash

Lack of staff risks hindering companies from tapping estimated $120bn economic boost

Waiting in anticipation of thirsty foreign tourists.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- With Japan's reopening to foreign tourists on Friday, the tourism industry and retailers have high hopes for a rebound in travel spending, but staff shortages and tight entry restrictions mean a real recovery is likely still some way off.

The government began issuing visas for travelers on supervised group tours that day, and traveler inflows are unlikely to pick up in earnest for at least a couple of weeks. The cap on daily entrants was raised to 20,000 last week, still a far cry from the roughly 140,000 people who crossed the border into Japan on average each day in 2019, though there has been talk about a further increase.

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