Japan Might Pay You to Visit, Once It’s Safe to Travel

updated May 28, 2020
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Coronavirus has put a wrench in travel plans for months, and places that benefit from tourism are seeing the effects. According to a May 21 article in The Japan Times, April 2020 tourism in Japan dropped by 99.9% in comparison to April 2019. So, to bring tourism back to Japan once the outbreak has subsided, the government is considering paying for a portion of tourists’ travel expenses.

Japan Tourism Agency chief Hiroshi Tabata announced on May 20, per the Times, that a ¥1.35 trillion ($12.5 billion) domestic tourism subsidy program could kick off in July if the coronavirus outbreak quells enough for foreign travel restrictions to be lifted. 

In a May 25 Japan Times report, a source confirmed the government’s financial plan to help the struggling tourism sector, reportedly called the “Go To Travel Campaign,” which was rumored to contain the issuance of coupons worth 50% of an agency-offered travel product’s price, thus meaning you could book a trip to Japan and get money back to spend within the country.

However, as of May 27, the Japan Times reports that the Japan Tourism Agency corrected the initial source via Twitter. Rather than the government offering coupons worth 50% of a travel product’s price, the government says that the Go To Travel Campaign will only cover “a portion of domestic travel expenses,” and have yet to attach a percentage to said “portion.”

But, this is still good news for those who see a trip to Japan in their future. This most recent Times article states that a summary of the government’s supplementary budget for 2020 could include travel vouchers of a maximum of ¥20,000 ($185.42) given to each tourist during their stay in Japan. Sure, it’s not a free vacation, but it will help defray costs.