Under pressure from the pandemic and recession, the Japanese government decided to launch the ‘Go to Travel’ program from July 22, half a month earlier than the original plan.

In April 2020, Japan welcomed only about 2,900 international visitors, only 0.1% compared to the same period last year. This is the first time since 1964 that the number of international visitors to Japan has dropped to less than 10,000. Moreover, the domestic tourism market is also gloomy due to the quarantine orders from the government.

Therefore, the Tokyo government is now extremely eager to stimulate the economy through customers’ consumption and tourism as the epidemic has been controlled.

Unfortunately, up to now, Japan has not been able to fully reopen its borders to international visitors since the threat of coronavirus in other countries still exists. As a result, the domestic tourism market becomes the main target of these stimulating policies.

The Japanese government decided to carry out the ‘Go to Travel’ campaign to resume tourism as well as consumption, trying to recover the economic from the downturn.

On July 10, 2020, Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of Japan, Kazuyoshi Akaba, announced the country would launch a 1.7-billion-yen ‘Go to Travel’ program to stimulate domestic tourism demand. This program is expected to run from July 22, 2020 to mid-March 2021 or continue until the budget runs out.

This program is one of the projects from the Tokyo government to revive the economy post-COVID-19 through subsidies and promotions for local businesses in order to attract tourists again.

In ‘Go to Travel’, tourists will be supported half of the travel cost, up to 20,000 yen/person/night or no more than 10,000 yen/person/day through a combination of discounts and vouchers to use in shops and restaurants near the tourist destinations.

For example, with a trip (including accommodation, cater and transport, etc.) with a total expense of up to 40,000 yen/day, the government will support up to 20,000 yen. And if the trip costs about 20,000 yen/day, the government still subsidies a half of it.

At the moment, the application procedures and refunds are still being developed by the Japanese government, but they will most likely be paid by credit card or bank transfer. Though conditions for participation in this tourism stimulus program have yet to be announced, many Japanese are extremely excited about this campaign.

In addition to ‘Go to Travel’, the Tokyo government is considering other stimulus projects such as ‘Go to Eat’ and ‘Go to Shop’.

Source: Destination Review