Like many things in modern day life, we take for granted the ability to hop on a flight and be anywhere in the world within a day, and so the outbreak of COVID-19 has forced everyone to reevaluate the ways in which we travel both domestically and internationally for the foreseeable future.
Needless to say, those countries that heavily rely on tourism have suffered the worst, which is perhaps why Japan, in a bid to kick-start their economy, are offering to pay for peoples’ travel to the country when life gets back to normal.
According to the Japan Times, Japan is putting an estimated USD$12.5 billion into funding part of people’s travel expenses. It’s worth noting that the Japanese government won’t be paying for all of your holiday, but it would subsidise some of it as an incentive to fly over.
Some sources suggest that people may get up to a 50 per cent discount on some of your travel expenses, with other reports suggesting it could come into effect as early as July.
Like many countries, Japan has placed a ban on international travellers entering the country since the outbreak of coronavirus, with only 2,900 people entering the country in April – a 99.9% decrease on the previous year.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this week also extended the travel ban to include India, Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, El Salvador, Ghana, Guinea, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, South Africa and Tajikistan, so it doesn’t look like this initiative will be happening any time soon, despite the suggestion.
It comes after a similar move from the Sicilian tourism board, who have suggested a scheme that will offer huge discounts on flights and hotel stays to foreigners, as well as free tickets to all its many museums and archaeological sites.
However, when that will be is anyone’s guess at the moment.
It’s great to see initiatives like these go ahead in an effort to restore some sense of normality to life in the coming months.
Being able to visit incredible and exotic countries around the world is one of the many privileges we enjoy in the 21st century, and as soon as we can get back to that the better.