In an attempt to boost tourism in Japan, the country’s tourism agency announced a $12.5 billion plan to subsidize a portion of foreign traveler’s expenses, Forbes reports.
When this is happening: Hiroshi Tabata of the Japan Tourism Agency told a news conference last Wednesday that the program could begin as early as July if the COVID-19 cases continue to subside, according to Japan Times.
The details of the plan are still in the works as the country continues to fight off the pandemic alongside the rest of the world. Some sources say that the plan will apply only to domestic travelers, and others report that the country may extend the subsidies to international travelers, according to Forbes.
Why this matters: Due to the pandemic, Japan’s tourism was down 99.9% this April from last year, with a mere 2,900 foreign travelers.
- This was the first time since 1964 that the monthly figure has been below 10,000, according to the Japan Times.
- Last month, it was announced that Sicily, Italy will subsidize a portion of traveler’s post-coronavirus trip costs by paying for half the price of airplane tickets, as well as one out of every three nights spent in a hotel, according to Forbes. Japan is following suit.
- The Olympics and Paralympics were originally scheduled to be held in July in Tokyo, however, they have been postponed due to the pandemic.
- Tourism accounts for a large portion of Japan’s economy, therefore, circumstances have dealt the country a large economic blow.
This is important: However, Japan recently issued an indefinite travel ban to contain the spread of COVID-19, which will ban visitors from 111 countries, including the United States, Canada, China, South Korea, and Australia (full list here). Foreign nationals who have been in any of the 111 countries within the last 14 days will not be allowed to enter Japan.