Published on Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Japan considers paying for tourists

Japan is considering funding up to half the cost of visitors' trips to try to reboot the country's tourism industry, which has been badly hit by the coronavirus crisis.

Fewer than 3,000 foreigners visited Japan in April, a drop of 99.9%. 

Visitors from the UK and a number of other countries with a high number of coronavirus cases are currently banned from entering Japan but the Japan Tourism Agency is planning to spend $12.5 billion funding the cost of future trips to the country.

JTA chief Hiroshi Tabata said the subsidies could be in place as early as July when travel restrictions are expected to be lifted.

The JTA hasn't outlined how the scheme will work, or who is eligible for the payments or whether these will cover the cost of international flights.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Japan was expecting a bumper year for tourism in 2020, but inbound arrivals are down more than 60% year on year and it has been forced to delay the Tokyo Olympics until 2021.  

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