In the post-pandemic era, it’s going to take a lot of convincing to get people to feel comfortable enough to board a plane for an international trip. Airlines are spearheading new safety and sanitation measures designed to give travelers peace of mind, but destinations themselves still need to create incentives to visit. Japan might be making travelers an offer that’s pretty hard to refuse, potentially covering half of the travel expenses for your trip.
In a Wednesday news conference, reports The Japan Times, Hiroshi Tabata of the Japan Tourism Agency said that the Japanese government plans to allocate $12.5 billion to a new reimbursement program, which may launch as soon as July if infection rates continue declining. The government has not yet specified how this program would work, what expenses would be covered, or how the subsidies would be distributed. Currently, Japan has an international travel ban in place, prohibiting foreigners from entering the country.
In April, Japan reported a 99.9 percent drop in tourism from the previous year, so the country is understandably eager to jumpstart its tourism industry. The country had been relying on the 2020 Olympics to bring in significant tourism revenue and offset investments associated with hosting the Olympics. Now that the Olympics have been postponed to 2021, Japan is hoping to salvage the summer travel season. Once travel restrictions lift, the reimbursement program could be a perfect way to do that.
Japan would be following the lead of other countries eager to encourage tourism this summer. Last month, Sicily announced a new program that would reimburse travelers for their trips, covering half of their flight and a third of their hotel expenses.