Japan Might Pay People To Visit Country To Boost Tourism In Wake Of Pandemic
A new tourism plan proposed by the Japanese government hopes to encourage travel to the country by subsidising costs in the wake of the current global health crisis.
The Go To Travel Campaign looks set to cost the government ¥1.7 trillion (£12.8 billion) and will see visitors given travel vouchers and coupons for souvenirs and facility use.
Initially, it was reported the plan would pay for half of visitors’ travel expenses, although the Japan Tourism Agency today, May 27, dispelled those rumours.
In a series of tweets in both English and Japanese, the agency said the campaign – which is currently under consideration – would only cover ‘a portion of domestic travel expenses’.
Still, that could see tourists handed travel vouchers for up to a maximum of ¥20,000 per person per stay – the equivalent of £150 – according to a summary of the government’s supplementary budget for fiscal 2020 released by the economy ministry, as per The Japan Times.
The head of the Japan Tourism Agency, Hiroshi Tabata, is reported to have said last week that if the virus was brought under control, they aimed to launch the Go To Travel Campaign in July at the earliest.
The announcement comes after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe lifted the state of emergency across all areas of Japan on Monday, May 25.
Mr Abe said in a press conference to the nation that the ‘uniquely Japanese way’ in which the country had confronted the pandemic – which did not include a strict lockdown but instead focused on finding clusters of infections and attacking the underlying causes – allowed it to escape the devastating death tolls seen elsewhere.
According to the latest figures, there have been 16,623 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Japan and 846 reported deaths. And although the state of emergency has been lifted, the prime minister warned it would take a ‘considerable amount of time to completely restore daily life’.
As a result of the ongoing pandemic, the number of foreign travellers visiting the country was down 99.9% in April compared to last year, with just 2,900 people visiting.
The data marked the first time the monthly figure had dropped below 10,000 since 1964, with the new proposed campaign hoping to increase those numbers.
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CreditsJapan Tourism Agency/Twitter and 2 others
Japan Tourism Agency/Twitter
The Japan Times