The cost of tourists’ expenses could be partially subsidised as part of a multi-billion yen bid to stimulate travel demand to Japan.
The Japanese government is reportedly considering a 1.35 trillion yen (£10.3 billion) fund to lure back foreign visitors hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
The fund would cover half of visitor’s travel expenses, potentially starting as soon as July as travel restrictions are lifted.
Hiroshi Tabata, chief of the Japanese Tourism Agency, revealed that the scheme could get underway so long as coronavirus infections continue to subside.
The initiative comes as Japan – venue for last year’s Abta Travel Convention – seeks to recover from a collapse in inbound tourism in April after achieving a record of 32.5 million international visitors in 2019.
Prime minister Shinzo Abe lifted the country’s nationwide state of emergency on Monday, ending restrictions in the remaining areas where the order was still in effect.
The country has already had to push back the Tokyo Olympics 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.
Japan’s financially lucrative cherry blossom season has also been impacted by the pandemic, further increasing the need for a quick injection of revenue.
The country is currently denying entry to people of roughly 100 nations as a result of the virus, meaning that any potential uplift is not expected until later in the year.
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