Japan considers resuming national tourism discount as Covid eases
- The domestic ‘Go To Travel’ initiative was first rolled out in July 2020 and subsidised half the travel expenses – up to US$150 a night – for each traveller
- From June 10, Japan will allow people in to the country on tours with fixed schedules and guides from a low-risk ‘blue’ list of 98 countries
Japan’s government is considering resuming a national travel discount campaign later this month to help the tourism industry recover from a Covid-19 slump, the Nikkei newspaper said on Saturday.
A revived “Go To Travel” campaign is likely to serve as a core measure to stimulate consumer demand, the business daily reported, without citing sources. Japan is set to ease border controls to let foreign tourists in from July 10 as coronavirus infections ease.
The government will decide on the campaign soon, the Nikkei said, without specifying time. Officials at the Japan Tourism Agency could not immediately be reached for comment outside business hours.
The campaign, rolled out in July 2020 just as Covid was gaining strength, subsidised half the travel expenses, up to 20,000 yen (US$150) a night, for each traveller.
The domestic programme helped boost tourism but was shelved five months later as the pandemic surged.
The measure is being discussed just as tourists are returning to Japan for the first time in more than two years as the government begins to ease some of the world’s strictest border measures amid a drop in Covid-19 cases.
For most of the pandemic, Japan has barred all tourists, allowing entry to only citizens and foreign residents, although even the latter have periodically been shut out.
Beginning on June 10, it will allow in people on tours with fixed schedules and guides from a low-risk “blue” list of 98 countries and regions representing the lowest risk of Covid-19 infection.
These include the United States, Britain, mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Australia and most members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). The list is subject to review at any time.
Additional reporting by SCMP