[Disclaimer: The South African government has banned all non-essential domestic travel and all international travel.]
Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, the majority of the world has gone into some sort of lockdown or isolation with businesses and entire industries being irrevocably affected. The event and tourism industry, in particular, has taken a major hit across the globe with airlines closing shop and hotels and resorts sitting with vacant rooms for the foreseeable future.
Last month, the Italian island of Sicily announced its plans to kickstart their tourism sector again. After reportedly already suffering a loss US$1.09 billion in revenue since Italy went into lockdown in March, the Island confirmed it has budgeted 50 million USD to get people visiting the island by offering to pay for half of a visitors airfare as well as one-third of the hotel expenses.
Now Japan is also looking to do something similarly creative to entice tourists to the country once more. The head of the Japan Tourism Agency announced this week that the government has created an incentivised plan to boost tourism by offering to subsidize a portion of travellers expenses.
While the finer details of the program are yet to be announced, some sources say that the program will apply to domestic travellers while other sources say the program could follow Italy’s lead by extending the subsidy to international visitors when travel restrictions are lifted.
Read More | Sicily is offering to pay for tourist flights and accommodation once travel is allowed
As mentioned the offer has yet to be confirmed but according to an article in The Mainichi, one of Japan’s largest newspapers, the government has given approved the plan to budget in a large sum for the tourism programme which could kick-off as earlier as July 2020 – depending on when travel restrictions ease up. But with over 100 countries still banned from entering Japan and dozens of nations still under some degree of lockdown, travel to Japan (or anywhere) could be off the cards for most of the year.
According to Forbes, Japan had initially braced for a hard hit when COVID-19 reached the country but so far, the country has been considered a coronavirus success story. At the time of publishing, Japan – a country of 126 million people – has only reported 16 569 infections of which 13 244 have recovered and 825 have died.
Experts agree the country’s low numbers are a testament to the government’s early and proactive measures, the country’s universal healthcare, low obesity rates, expertise in treating pneumonia and a culture that is already known for its excellent hygiene habits and social-distancing skills.
Check out Sicily’s offering right here and Read more on the latest COVID-19 related news here.