Japan Plans To Subsidise Tourists’ Travel Expenses To Jump-Start Domestic Tourism

UPDATE (28 May, 6.30pm): Visit Japan International clarified on Tuesday (26 May) that the Go to Travel Campaign will only cover a portion of domestic travel expenses, once it is approved by the government.

A previous version of the story referenced The Mainichi, saying that Japan plans to pay half of foreign visitors’ travel expenses.

Story has been updated to reflect latest clarifications in 3rd and 4th paragraph.

Many of us remember Japan as the land of stunning flower fields, delicious cuisine, and anime merchandise.

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However, the postponed 2020 Olympics and the coronavirus pandemic has halted the country’s tourism industry.

To boost domestic tourism, the Japanese government is planning to launch a S$17.8 billion (¥1.35 trillion) to subsidise tourists’ travel expenses, according to Japan Times.

The programme may start in July, but it depends on whether Covid-19 infection rates have declined in the country.

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If you’re planning to visit Japan once the pandemic ends, here’s what you need to know.

Japan tourism drops due to Covid-19 & cancelled Olympics

Many travellers have set their sights on Japan to celebrate the cherry blossom festival and watch the Summer Olympics, but the pandemic led to the cancellation of our foreign trips.

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Japan Times reports that only 2,900 foreign travellers went to Japan in April, which is 99.9% lower than in Apr 2019.

When compared to the same period in 2019, the number of Chinese tourists declined from 726,132 to a mere 200, while the number of South Korean tourists dropped from 566,624 to 300.

50% off travel expenses in Japan

The tourism industry isn’t expected to recover soon due to continuous rise in Covid-19 cases. As a result, the Japanese government is seeking to boost domestic tourism by incentivising tourists.

Hopefully, the S$17.8 billion (¥1.35 trillion) injected into the programme will have promising returns once the outbreak is under control.

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We’re waiting for the government to iron out the details because the plan has not been finalised yet.

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While the programme may start as early as July, this depends on the Covid-19 situation in the country.

Looking forward to travelling again after Covid-19 subsides

‘Circuit Breaker’ may be ending soon, but it may take time for travel to resume back to normal. Who knows, in a few months or by next year, travel restrictions may ease and it’ll be safe to visit Japan.

Thanks to Japan’s upcoming travel incentives, we may expect affordable travel in the near future. Here’s to hoping that we can finally cross the cherry blossom festival off our bucket list.

Featured image adapted from Unsplash.