The governments of Japan, Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) have relaxed their Covid-19 restrictions on international travel.
These decisions are expected to provide an impetus for the recovery of the aviation industry in the Asia-Pacific region, at a time when ACI Asia-Pacific had expected to lose its position as the world’s biggest civil aviation market in 2022.
Japan had maintained strict border measures since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, having effectively blocked entry to visitors for two years until it began a gradual reopening in June 2022.
Chinese Taipei has also announced its plan to remove inbound quarantine for international arrivals by October 13, 2022. Previously, arrivals were required to quarantine in hotels for three days followed by four days of self-monitoring.
In Hong Kong, the government’s latest guidelines say that all international arrivals will be able to return home or to the accommodation of their choice but will have to self-monitor for three days after entering the Chinese special administrative hub.
Stefano Baronci, director general of ACI Asia-Pacific, said, “Our continuous dialogue with national authorities has finally paid off. ACI Asia-Pacific and its 617 airports welcome the decisions by the governments of Japan, Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei to take significant steps to relax Covid-19-related restrictions on international travel. This will not only restore freedom of travel but also provide the impetus needed for the recovery of the aviation industry.”
A representative from Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) added, “Airport Authority Hong Kong welcomes the government’s adjustment of quarantine arrangements for inbound 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 and Tourism Council (WTTC), to the Prime Minister of Japan, urging the government to remove all restrictions and restore the travel privileges to enable smooth recovery of the industry in the region. This followed ACI Asia-Pacific’s earlier engagement with the government of Japan, when it provided a research sample on travel restrictions that revealed that curbs such as quarantine and testing were ineffective in mitigating the spread of Covid-19.
“We expect the Hong Kong government to do away with existing three-day restrictions to avoid further dampening of the economy,” Baronci added. “Owing 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 required to revitalize the economy. We hope to see more positive developments coming from China in relaxation of Covid-19 measures for international travel.”