Japan to allow foreign ski instructors

9th May 2016, by Abi Butcher

Ski instructors from all over the world may soon be allowed to teach in Japan, following the announcement of plans to ease visa requirements for foreign instructors to help attract more skiers to the country.

The number of people skiing in Japan has been gradually falling since its peak in 1998, when 18 million skiers hit the slopes. The latest figures, from 2013, show less than half the number of skiers — only 7.7million — heading to Japan.

Until now, foreign ski instructors have been working illegally in Japan, entering the country on a tourist visa. The Japanese government says it hopes foreign instructors with different language skills will attract more skiers from abroad — in line with requests from domestic ski schools.

Last summer, the Japan Tourism Agency sent questionnaires to 129 ski schools across Japan and found 25 of the 57 school respondents wanted to hire around 80 foreign instructors.

Plans drawn up by the Justice Ministry will allow instructors who have a minimum of three years’ experience teaching or competing in major international events, such as the Olympics or World Championships. Instructors who hold the highest-level qualification from the International Ski Instructor’s Association will also be permitted to work in its mountains.

Good news for all powder hounds!

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