The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) opened the “Japan Travel House” in Qatar on Wednesday to boost outbound tourism to the East Asian nation.
The information hub for all things Japanese tourism will be open for a limited time from October 2023 to February 2024 at Junko Sushi & Japanese Dining – The Pearl.
According to officials, the Japan Travel House will promote tourism to Japan and attract visitors from GCC countries, including Qatar. It will provide information about tourism in Japan and assist with various inquiries and concerns about travelling to Japan.
Japanese authorities recently activated the visa exemption for Qatari citizens. The system would enable the citizens to electronically apply for visas at the Embassy of Japan in Doha to register their passports and then finalise registration for the visa waiver online.
Inaugurating the hub, Executive Director of the JNTO Dubai Office, Daisuke Kobayashi, said since the COVID-19 measures were relaxed in Japan, the number of visitors from Qatar to Japan has significantly increased, with 90% of GCC citizens eager to visit Japan, per JNTO survey.
“The number of Qatari nationals visiting Japan in 2023 from January to August is about 120% compared to 2019, showing it has already surpassed pre-COVID figures. The same upward trend has continued since September,” Kobayashi told the gathering.
He added that Qatar Airways resumed the Tokyo-Haneda route in June.
He said the Qatari carrier will also restart the Kansai-Osaka route in March 2024, after seven years of absence, which would facilitate travel to Japan. Moreover, the Japanese city Yokohama will host the next International Horticultural EXPO 2027 after Doha, which is hosting the event this year.
“Tie between Qatar and Japan are getting further strengthened, and it is my pleasure to announce the opening of “Japan Travel House” at such a perfect timing,” Kobayashi added.
Meanwhile, Ambassador of Japan to Qatar H E Satoshi Maeda said visiting Japan has recently become much easier from Qatar as the number of direct flights between the two countries are set to increase significantly soon — with two daily direct flights already operating.
He added that the visa waiver measure for Qatari nationals based on the ordinary passport registration system this April, followed by online passport registration this August, has significantly streamlined the travel procedures.
“I am confident that the ‘Japan Travel House’ initiative will play an important role in promoting tourism to Japan and help move Japan up to the top 5 spots on everyone’s bucket list of the ‘must visit countries’,” he noted.
Maeda highlighted Japan’s rich culture, tradition, cuisine, natural beauty and cutting-edge technology. He urged tourists to visit popular tourist places like Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto, Osaka, Okinawa and Hokkaido.