The Japanese government is looking to revive the tourism industry, a key driver of the economy that has been battered by the novel coronavirus pandemic, by paying for people to go on vacation in the country.
Under its Go-To Travel initiative, the government will provide subsidies worth up to 20,000 yen ($185) per day for people going on leisure trips, report says citing Kyodo news.
Some 1.35 trillion yen has been earmarked for the Go-To Travel initiative, part of an emergency package that Abe has said will exceed 200 trillion yen.
The subsidies will cover half the cost of trips, distributed through a combination of steep discounts and vouchers to be used at nearby restaurants and shops. The initiative is expected to begin as early as late July, applies to bookings made through Japanese travel agencies or directly with hotels or “ryokan” traditional Japanese inns. However, the cost of traveling to Japan will not be covered in any part.
The government is eager to jump-start the world’s third-largest economy, which was already flagging following a consumption tax hike last year before the coronavirus and emergency brought business activity to a halt.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the state of emergency in Tokyo and the surrounding area as well as Hokkaido, having done so for the rest of the country earlier this month, signaling the start of the return to everyday life.