The multi-billion pound scheme would help kickstart Japan’s tourist industry.
With the international travel picture looking unclear, and tourists a little apprehensive about booking flights in the midst of a pandemic, savvy countries are working to offer incentives to bring visitors back to their shores. First, Sicily offered to pay half of your flight costs to go visit, and now Japan is working on a similar scheme to entice travelers to the Land of the Rising Sun.
According to an article in both The Mainichi, one of Japan’s largest newspapers, and the Japan Times, the Japanese government is considering giving the green light to a 1.35 trillion yen (approximately $12.5 billion) fund to lure back foreign visitors. If approved, the fund would cover half of visitor’s travel expenses, and would work to offset a 99.9% decrease in visitors from April 2019 to April 2020 caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Hiroshi Tabata, chief of the Japanese Tourism Agency, revealed that the scheme could start as early as July so long as coronavirus infections continue to subside.
The plan hasn’t been finalized, but with Japan having already had to push the Tokyo Olympics back to 2021 as a result of the outbreak, providing the nation’s tourism industry with a boost could be vital to mitigating any economic fallout. Similarly, the nation’s financially lucrative cherry blossom season – enjoyed recently by these adorable deer – has been impacted by the pandemic, further increasing the need for a quick injection of revenue.
Currently, Japan is denying entry to people of roughly 100 nations as a result of the virus, meaning that any potential trip is likely to fall later in the year. Still, given the mix of outstanding natural beauty, fascinating culture, and endlessly-enjoyable cuisine, the scheme is likely to prove tempting to travelers. Including us, who featured Kyoto in what turned out to be ill-fated places to visit in 2020 guide earlier this year… But perhaps we’ll get to pay a visit after all?
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