With the new Walkure tour announced yesterday, I think one thing is clear is that as Japan (and other first-world nations) slowly emerges from pandemic-induced shutdowns and slowdowns, the US is going to be lagging these countries in international travel allowances.
By most metrics, the USA has done a below-average job as a first-world nation in dealing with the Coronavirus. Unfortunately the price to be paid from an eventing point of view is that international travel will resume slower for Americans going to and from other countries that have successfully reduced the spread and the number of infections.
Given most big character-franchise lives tend to announce events on a 3-to-6-month rolling basis, we might be clearing the initial hurdles in Japan with events rolling out early 2021. Will oversea tourism resume in Japan? Until this happens it would be quite hard to travel there to attend any events.
Maybe you can think that once a vaccine is available things will be better. I think that’s true generally, but it would be hard to know if this extends to how tourists are going to be let in. For one, it only seems responsible to do so after the vaccines are widely available and administered, and the timeline for that is likely as long as developing the vaccine in the first place.
Perhaps it is a backstop of sorts, regardless the challenge that lies between today and those goal posts. There is that postponed Tokyo Olympics, so I think things will come to a head early 2021. Of course, I don’t think athletes and their support crews will have trouble going to Japan, but I think Japan will be economically and politically pressured to allow tourism by this summer if things are playing out to the best case scenarios.
That means the domestic events from November onward until then will be blocked for a lot of oversea fans! And that is in a best-case basis. This is not even addressing the lack of Japanese guests in oversea events (read: US cons), which is a different ball of wax with different sets of risks.
Of course, Japan is not risk-free now, nor will they be in the coming months as more of their social distancing limits are lifted. I imagine until they also get widely vaccinated, leisure gatherings will be reduced. Venues are still limited to 50% capacity for now, so we’ll see in november if this means things are really spiking–and if full-blown events are really going to happen again soon.