Update: The article referenced for this story has now been changed. Now it seems that the money will go towards domestic tourism in Japan, and it simply references “subsidizing a portion of travel expenses.”
Japan is one of the places I’m most excited to eventually return to, and it looks like the country has quite a plan to lure tourists once borders reopen.
Japan has seen a 99.9% drop in tourists
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but Japan saw a 99.9% drop in tourists for the month of April 2020. April is typically one of the most popular months of the year to visit Japan due to Cherry Blossom, but this year the country only saw only about 2,900 foreign visitors.
It’s the first time since at least 1964 (when these statistics started being compiled) that Japan has seen fewer than 10,000 monthly foreign visitors. That’s not surprising when you consider the travel restrictions that have been in place since April, as the country banned entry of nationals from over 70 countries, including China, South Korea, most of Europe, and the United States. That ban has this month been extended to a total of roughly 100 countries.
For what it’s worth, the inverse has also been true — the number of Japanese nationals traveling internationally also decreased massively in April, by 99.8%. Only 3,900 Japanese nationals left the country during the month.
Tourism to Japan is down 99.9% in April
Japan’s plan to lure back visitors
While we’ll have to wait to see the full details, The Japan Times reports on the Japanese government’s creative plan to attract visitors, which could see the country covering half of peoples’ travel expenses.
The program could launch as soon as July (if COVID-19 infections subside soon, which seems hopeful), and the plan is for this to be a roughly 12.5 billion USD program.
It goes without saying that I imagine there’s a lot more to this program, and that Japan simply won’t pay for half of everyone’s vacation with no caps. These details haven’t been decided on yet, but 12.5 billion USD is a lot of money, and this will definitely be something to watch when plans are announced.
Japan may cover half the cost of your visit… but what’s the catch?
Japan is such an incredible country, and I can’t wait to visit again when the time is right. Frankly I’m surprised they’re even thinking of investing so much in subsidizing peoples’ trips.
The country is such a tourist hotspot, and I think just opening borders at the right time with proper precautions will stimulate quite a bit demand.
Personally I think they should spend that money on offering free testing upon arrival, which would put them ahead of a vast majority of countries.
Nonetheless if they want to pay for half of our trips I’m sure we won’t mind. 😉