To resuscitate travel and boost consumption . . .
The Japanese government is pushing forward with a travel subsidy program as part of its re-opening plans. In an attempt to revive the tourism industry, the ‘Go To Travel’ campaign covers up to half of the cost of travel and accommodation for domestic tourism trips. The campaign kicks off just as Japan heads into a four-day holiday this week for Marine and Sports Days, which were re-scheduled to boost travel at the start of the now-postponed Olympics. The South Korean government has also declared August 17 a national holiday to give workers, especially essential ones, a three-day-long weekend and encourage an estimated C$ 4.7 billion worth of domestic consumption.
Concerns around spreading disease . . .
Although some would-be Japanese tourists have welcomed the subsidies, many remain concerned about further COVID-19 outbreaks. Today, Japan set a new single-day record of 795 cases. A Nikkei poll showed that 80 per cent of respondents thought the campaign launched was “too early,” with only 15 per cent identifying the timing as “appropriate.” Regional government leaders also voiced opposition to the campaign, citing concerns that travel could bring the disease to their communities. The Government of Japan made a last-minute decision to exclude trips to Tokyo or by the city’s residents, which will cut an estimated 25 per cent of the travel demand.
Tourism recovery to remain slow . . .
Japan and South Korea are not the only countries using holiday and domestic tourism for economic recovery. Taiwan’s ‘Travel Ease’ campaign was welcomed by industry and the public, most likely given the island’s widely successful pandemic control. Even though Canadians are accepted in multiple tourist destinations, from Europe to Mexico, Canadians remain very cautious of distance travel, according to the Tourism Association of Canada’s July report, with Ottawa continuing to discourage non-essential travel with new cases emerging around the country.
- The Korea Herald: S. Korea designates Aug.17 as temporary holiday for virus-weary people
- Kyodo News: Japan’s travel subsidy campaign kicks off amid virus spread concerns
- Nikkei Asian Review: Japan’s Go To Travel plans spurs fears of ‘man-made’ COVID disaster