The future of international travel is undeniably up in the air (despite most planes being grounded), and understandably, tourists are approaching the idea of overseas holidays with an undertone of apprehension.
To help shift this hesitancy and entice visitors to their countries once more, governments around the world are looking into schemes that encourage tourists. First, the island of Sicily offered to front half the costs of flights and accommodation for visitors in the latter half of the year, and then, Japan was allegedly said to be humouring the idea of a similar initiative.
According to The Mainichi, a long-running Japanese publication, the government is considering a ¥1.35 trillion (AU $19 billion) package that would cover half of tourist travel expenses if approved.
Hiroshi Tabata of the Japan Tourism Agency said the initiative could take effect as early as July, should they choose to go ahead with the plan provided there was a further reduction in case numbers within Japan.
While the world became hugely excited at the idea of a post-iso trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, the publication has now confirmed the scheme would only be available to domestic tourists already residing in Japan.
“The government is seeking to boost domestic tourism by subsidising a portion of travel expenses once the coronavirus outbreak is brought under control,” The Mainichi said in its update.
Japan’s tourism is down 99.9% from April last year, with the nation welcoming less than 3,000 tourists in April 2020 — the largest ever decline. Of course, Japan was expecting to host thousands of visitors for the 2020 Olympics, while the Sakura (cherry blossom) seasons usually draws large numbers from all over the world, too.
Japan’s response to coronavirus has been hailed something of a “success story” by experts, according to the ABC. Around 800 people sadly died and more than 16,000 infections were recorded, but considering the population of 126 million, there’s no denying the job well done to contain what could have been sincerely worse.
A current travel ban is in place for all Australians, and so those looking to head to Japan, or anywhere else for that matter, will need to wait until borders are safely reopened.
In the meantime, those keen to visit Japan can begin planning their trip with the 10 unmissable Tokyo experiences, best places to stay in Tokyo, what you need to know before climbing Mount Fuji and the only way to get a table at Jiro’s famous Tokyo restaurant.