The Japanese government’s “Go To Travel” subsidy campaign has covered 25.18 million domestic overnight stays for about two months from its launch to the end of September, preliminary figures from the Ministry of Tourism showed on Tuesday.
During this period, the government has funded a total of 109.9 billion yen ($1 billion) in rebates under the program, which aims to boost the tourism sector hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The program will last until the end of January.
A commercial street leading to Zenkoji Temple in Nagano, central Japan, is packed with tourists on October 4, 2020, the first weekend after the Japanese capital was added to the ‘Go To Travel’ government subsidy program to bolster domestic tourism which has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic. (Kyodo)
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Guests took advantage of the initiative which offered a 35% discount on hotels and package travel costs, paying an average of 12,000 yen per person in accommodation costs.
Although some have pointed out that bookings are being skewed towards luxury hotels rather than budget ones as customers find the scheme yields higher returns at expensive accommodations, Tourism Minister Kazuyoshi Akaba said told reporters on Tuesday that travelers are using the campaign for “all price ranges.”
About 16.89 million domestic room nights were covered by the program between July 22 and September 15, with the government assuming a total of 73.5 billion yen in discounts, according to hotel and travel agency data at across the country.
The number of stays and the amount of subsidies are expected to increase as the government on October 1 added a 15% discount in the form of coupons for shopping and dining at travel destinations.
Additionally, travel to and from Tokyo, initially excluded from the campaign due to high numbers of new virus infections, was added to the schedule on the same day. Tokyoites represent 10% of the national population.
The overall discount under the program is capped at 20,000 yen per person per night and 10,000 yen for a day trip.
The government allocated 1.35 trillion yen for the initiative, estimating that it would be used for 73 million overnight stays and 48 million day trips. The program can be extended beyond the end of January, if the budget does not run out.