October 14, 2020
Tokyo- The Japanese government will provide private-sector travel companies with more funds for covering the costs of discounts under its Go To Travel tourism promotion program, tourism minister Kazuyoshi Akaba said Tuesday.
The move comes after major travel-booking website operators scaled back such discounts due to a shortage of funds allocated from the state. The government hopes to avoid confusion by helping travel firms continue offering to customers discounts equivalent to 35 pct of travel costs, for up to 14,000 yen per person per night, through the additional funding.
At a press conference, Akaba said that the government plans to start handing out additional funds "flexibly" based on booking records of travel companies.
Some major travel-booking sites, including Yahoo! Travel and Jalan.net, have lowered their discount limits to 3,500 yen, out of fear that they will run out of the funds that were distributed to them beforehand.
"We've been informed by the (website) operators that they will resume the 35 pct discounts by no later than Wednesday morning," Akaba said. He also said that people who have booked their trips with the limited discounts will be allowed to enjoy the program to its full extent.
Under the government-sponsored campaign, which is designed to help the tourism industry cushion the impact of the novel coronavirus epidemic, businesses were given state funds in advance based on their sales plans.
The number of travel bookings, however, has been surging since the program started to cover Tokyo at the beginning of this month, leading some travel companies to see total reservations exceed sales plans.
The government has earmarked 1.35 trillion yen in total for the campaign. Akaba stressed that the budgeted funds will not dry up any time soon.
The Go To Travel campaign, which began in late July, initially excluded trips to and from Tokyo due to a spike in novel coronavirus infection cases in the Japanese capital. Jiji Press