Japan has lifted the seven-week nation-wide state of emergency to begin a phased relaunch of the domestic travel to rebuild its tourism sector.
Japan authorities are hopeful towards reopening the section of the economy as new cases of coronavirus are steadily declining.
Tokyo Mayor, Yuriko Koike, has urged the public to stay vigilant by maintaining sanitisation and social distancing to avoid another wave of coronavirus cases. The first phase includes reopening of schools, gyms, libraries and galleries, with restaurants allowed to stay open longer.
The first focus of the government after the restriction is domestic tourism, as they launched the “Go-To Travel” campaign to revitalise the domestic tourism market. Japanese people will be able to enjoy the beauty that country has to offer as the new coronavirus cases declines while balanced safety and hygiene is maintained among the citizens. According to the Japan Tourism Agency, the aim of the government for the campaign is to stimulate domestic travel demand within Japan to cover the portion of domestic travel expenses post-pandemic.
The international travellers looking for a cheap trip exploring Japan are out of luck as the authorities have clarified the rumours that the half-pay travel expense offer is only open for domestic travellers.
The government support package is set to strengthen the tourism industry of Japan to stay firm through the coronavirus crisis, even though there are concerns over whether the funds will benefit a small business or if people will travel at all.
As the Go-To Travel Campaign details are still being worked out, the government has confirmed that offer includes subsidies of up to 20,000 yen (US$190) per day, provided through discounts or vouchers for hotels, restaurants, transport and attractions. The campaign is likely to begin in July and travellers are entitled to the subsidies if they use domestic travel agencies or stay at local hotels and ryokan, Japanese inns.
President and CEO of boutique travel agency Luxurique, Naomi Mano, said the assistance was welcome and important, however, she is unclear on how the campaign operates and what its target market is. She added that the possibility of families, children and young singles to travel this year is low due to the heavyweight of job uncertainty. This leaves older demographic to take the government offer, which may have health concerns over travelling. Ms. Neomi also highlighted that it is important for travellers to understand the requirements and best practice to protect travellers health.
The President of Fukuoka-based Freya International Tours, Noriko Takano, was optimistic that domestic travel will begin as early as the end of June, with international tourists following in August