The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) is taking active steps to promote air links to smaller Japanese airports such as Toyama (TOY), Shizuoka (FSZ) and Niigata (KIJ) from Southeast Asia despite uncertainty as to when Japan will reopen its borders to international visitors.
Kenji Yamamoto, director of JNTO's global projects department, is currently leading a delegation from the organization at Routes Asia 2022 in Da Nang, Vietnam. He noted that these smaller Japanese points were receiving at least one international flights from Taiwan or mainland China pre-pandemic, and the continuous closure of those markets has added additional pressure on to these regional airports.
JNTO is now shifting its focus to establish more air links to Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. The organization is also aiming to increase awareness of airports in northern Japan, which are usually out of range for narrowbody aircraft departing Southeast Asia.
The agency is providing 50% promotion and marketing fee subsidies to local airlines that wish to establish new airlinks between these small airports and a foreign airport.
“The subsidy will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and all local airlines, including large ones, can apply,” Yamamoto said.
From June 10, Japan will allow group tours from 36 countries into Japan, although the point of entry is limited to major airports such as Tokyo Narita (NRT) and Osaka (KIX) that have larger passenger handling facilities.