A great Coronavirus travel deal – Visit Japan and the government may pay your holiday

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Sensoji Temple in Tokyo’s Asakusa district, seen in this photo taken April 25, is normally packed with foreign visitors. Image Source: Japan Times, BLOOMBERG

The head of the Japan Tourism Agency announced this week that the government has created a plan to revive their tourism by welcoming visitors again by offering to subsidize half of their travel expenses, according to Japan Times. That is once the coronavirus outbreak is brought under control.

Japan is one of the world’s most visited countries. However, the country saw a 99.9% drop in tourists for the month of April 2020. Even though Japan has lifted its state of emergency because of the outbreak, the country has currently banned visitors from over 110 countries across the world, unless for some exceptional circumstances.

April is typically one of the most popular months of the year to visit Japan because of the cherry blossom season, but this year the country only saw only about 2,900 foreign visitors.

Japan is also now due to host the 2020 Olympics in July 2021, after the Games were postponed this year due to the virus.

The previous low for monthly foreign visitors was 17,543 in February 1964. Last year, the country recorded the highest tourism numbers on record with more than 32.5 million international visitors.

This enticing new program could launch as soon as July (if COVID-19 infections subside soon, which seems hopeful), and will cost Japan a cool $12.5 billion. And keeping in mind that there aren’t any insights concerning how it will function or whether there will be cost limits, contingent upon when traveling limitations for foreign visitors would ease.

While Japan was initially bracing for a hard hit from the pandemic, the country has been considered a coronavirus success story and has fared much better than other nations. The country of 126 million people has had only 16,433 infections and 784 deaths. Experts attribute the country’s low numbers to early proactive measures, 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.

Tokyo, the world’s largest city, is in a state of emergency alongside four other prefectures. The upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics, due to be held in the Japanese capital this summer, has been postponed.

But things might be looking up – only three new coronavirus infections were reported in Tokyo on Friday, May 22. That’s the lowest figure since the state of emergency was declared in April.

In other places in Japan, landmarks and attractions have been closed down to contain the spread of infection. Museums, galleries and theme parks including Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, and Universal Studios Japan have been temporarily closed. Festivals and events across the country have either been cancelled or postponed.