Tourism in Japan drops by 99.9% in April 2020, govt launches S$17.8 billion rescue plan

Launching discounts to incentivise people to tour Japan when the Covid-19 situation gets better.

Zhangxin Zheng| May 23, 03:00 PM

The Covid-19 pandemic has no doubt affected global tourism tremendously.

Japan experiences 99.9% drop in tourism in April

Many tourists would typically flock to Japan during the month of April to see the cherry blossoms.

However, the country has reported a 99.9% drop in tourism in the month of April 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019.

There are only 2,900 foreign tourists in April 2020, according to the statistic shared by the Japan National Tourism Organization.

The fall in tourism is unprecedented since the government first started to compile tourism data in 1964.

With the travel restrictions implemented globally, most Japanese nationals remain in the country.

This is over a 99.8 per cent drop in the citizens exiting Japan in April 2020 compared to last year.

1.35 trillion yen program to boost tourism

Extraordinary times therefore require extraordinary measures.

In a bid to boost tourism in Japan, the Japan National Tourism Organization came up with a plan that is expected to cost 1.35 trillion yen (S$17.8 billion).

The agency intends to launch the plan once the Covid-19 outbreak is under control.

The amount of money will be spent to provide discounted accommodation and day trips, promotions at souvenir shops, restaurants, and tourist hotspots.

For example, as part of their "Go To Travel" campaign, coupons that halve tour expenses (including accommodation, local products, food and beverages, facilities) are being considered. However, the value of such subsidies is capped at 20,000 yen (about S$264) per night per person.

Part of the budget will also be spent on improving tourist experiences such as supporting cashless payment or online reservations, resuming air travels to Japan, and other campaigns and events.

On May 21, the Prime Minister of Japan announced that the country is lifting the state of emergency for Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo.

The state of emergency in Tokyo and the northern prefecture of Hokkaido may be lifted next week as well.

Top photo via Unsplash