The governments of Japan, Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) have eased their Covid-19 restrictions on international travel.
The moves are expected to give impetus to the recovery of the aviation industry in the Asia-Pacific region, at a time when ACI Asia-Pacific expected to lose its position as the world’s largest civil aviation market in 2022.
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Japan had maintained strict border measures since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, having effectively blocked the entry of visitors for two years until it began a phased reopening in June 2022.
Chinese Taipei also announced its intention to remove the inbound quarantine for international arrivals by October 13, 2022. Previously, arrivals had to be quarantined in hotels for three days, followed by four days of self-monitoring.
In Hong Kong, the latest government guidelines say all international arrivals will be able to return home or to accommodation of their choice, but will have to self-monitor for three days after entering the Chinese special administrative center.
Stefano Baronci, Managing Director of ACI Asia-Pacific, said: “Our ongoing dialogue with national authorities has finally paid off. ACI Asia-Pacific and its 617 airports welcome the decisions of the governments of Japan, Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei to take significant steps to ease Covid-19 related restrictions on international travel. This will not only restore the freedom to travel, but also provide the necessary impetus for the recovery of the aviation industry.
A representative from the Airports Authority of Hong Kong (AAHK) added: “The Airports Authority of Hong Kong welcomes the government’s adjustment of quarantine arrangements for incoming passengers. AAHK looks forward to the continued recovery of air traffic. We are working closely with the airport community to prepare for the expected increase in flights and passengers.
In September 2022, ACI Asia-Pacific wrote a letter, co-signed by ACI World and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), to the Prime Minister of Japan, urging the government to remove all restrictions and restore the privileges of trip to enable a smooth recovery of industry in the region. This follows ACI Asia-Pacific’s earlier engagement with the government of Japan, when it provided a sample of research on travel restrictions that found restrictions such as quarantine and testing to be ineffective for mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
“We expect the Hong Kong government to remove the existing three-day restrictions to avoid a further downturn in the economy,” Baronci added. “Due to the prolonged restrictions on inbound travel, Hong Kong has lost its position as the busiest airport for international traffic in Asia. Immediate actions are needed to revitalize the economy. We hope to see more positive developments from of China in easing Covid-19 measures for international travel.