Breaking down Japan’s Go To Travel campaign
Japan Times -- Oct 19
Starting on Oct. 1, the government re-included Tokyo in its Go To Travel campaign, a program subsidizing domestic travel that aims to encourage spending and boost an economy suffering the effects of a global pandemic.

Initially left out amid the capital’s rising coronavirus case numbers, Tokyoites can now take advantage of the government initiative, which covers up to half of eligible domestic travel expenses.

One of the outcomes of the pandemic has been renewed interest in domestic travel. Here’s how to take advantage of the Go To campaign, plus tips to stay safe when embarking on future trips.

Announced by tourism minister Kazuyoshi Akaba in a meeting on July 10, the Go To campaign is a ¥1.7 trillion initiative encompassing travel, food and entertainment industries to help stimulate Japan’s economy. Go To Travel is one in a four-part campaign to boost local industry significantly impacted by the pandemic — the others are Go To Eat, Go To Event and Go To Shotengai (shopping streets).

The Go To Travel campaign funds up to 50% of travel expenses for domestic trips, both overnight and one-day excursions (limited to ¥20,000/person per night and ¥10,000/person per day trip, respectively), including accommodation and transport fees. The Japanese government will subsidize 35% of the total cost; the remaining 15% is covered by discount coupons that can be used at participating hospitality, sightseeing and shopping businesses.

Here’s where it gets complicated. Travel expenses, which include transportation and accommodation costs, must make up 70% of said 50% subsidy: Therefore, 70% of the maximum ¥20,000 per day (up to ¥14,000) must be appropriated towards these expenses. The remaining 30% (maximum ¥6,000) will be awarded in the form of regional coupons.

Regional coupons are issued in units of ¥1,000, and are distributed by designated travel agencies and hotels either in paper form or electronically to a smartphone device. The coupons can be used during the period of travel in the destination prefecture and its neighboring prefectures at designated local businesses. Note that change can’t be provided for these coupons.

News source: Japan Times
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