UK opens door to greater number of Japanese visitors

Japanese nationals will be able to use ePassport gates to enter the UK from summer 2019 as part of the government’s commitment to develop a new global immigration system as Britain prepares to leave the EU.

ePassport gates, which are currently available for British and EU nationals, provide a faster route through the border as they allow eligible passengers to be processed quickly and securely.

The news comes following a meeting between Theresa May and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week in which they discussed ways to continue to improve working relationship between the two countries.

“The UK and Japan have strong cultural, artistic and sporting ties and this is translating into increased visitor numbers to our shores,” said Michael Ellis, the UK’s Tourism Minister. “Tourism is good for our understanding of each other’s cultures and can help strengthen our economies. With thousands of Brits expected to travel to Japan for the Rugby World Cup this year and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, our continued close relationship will benefit both nations.”

Visitors from Japan spent, on average, £1,011 per visit in the UK in 2017, compared to the all market average of £625.

Last year, the Prime Minister and Prime Minister Abe announced an arts and culture programme of UK in Japan in 2019-20, bringing together British and Japanese artists, technology experts and businesses to continue to build creative links between the two countries.

The programme, run by the British Council, will provide UK artists and their Japanese partners with opportunities to share state-of-the-art digital technology and showcase the best of UK and Japanese creativity in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

To coincide with this, Japan will also stage a parallel cultural programme in the UK.

Japanese perceptions of the UK as a visitor destination are strong. Japan ranked the UK fourth out of 50 nations for its overall brand in the 2018 Anholt Nation Brands Index; up one place on 2017. Japan also rated the UK highly for its vibrant cities and urban attractions and historic buildings and monuments.

Culture is one of the key attractions for tourists from Japan who enjoy visiting the UK’s museums and art galleries, sightseeing at famous monuments and buildings and visiting castles or historic houses.

Article published 14th January 2019