C: Manuel Cosentino – Unsplash

In moves similar to Taiwan’s multi-pronged stimulus voucher campaign aimed at helping to kick-start the economy in the post COVID-19 era, Japan’s own travel subsidy campaign started Wednesday to give a boost to a domestic tourism industry hit hard by the virus, albeit with the jewel in Japan’s tourism crown not included.

Tokyo, the focal point of any visit to Japan for almost 32 million tourists in 2019, was left out of the new scheme amidst worries over an apparent second wave of coronavirus infections in recent days.

In similar form to the plan launched earlier in the month across Taiwan, the Japanese government will now cover part of the costs of domestic trips around the nation for all legal residents, although this will exclude trips to Tokyo, or trips made by residents of the nation’s capital.

C: Ash Edmonds – Unsplash

The system is not being launched without its complaints, however, as many have bemoaned the online application website as being overly complicated, with some local media reports of potential travellers giving up on plans to use the “Go To Travel” campaign.

The campaign was brought into play just in time for an upcoming long weekend across Japan with the newly created ‘Sports Day’ on Friday – originally put in place to mark the now delayed Tokyo Olympics – and ‘Marine Day’ on Monday combining to give over 100 million Japanese a four day break.

The cost of the programme has been reported as totalling 1.35 trillion Japanese yen (around NT$ 370 billion) with the national government shouldering almost half of all transportation and accommodation costs when subsidies and vouchers are eventually factored in.

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