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Over 25 mil. overnight stays covered by Japan travel subsidy campaign

Ns News Online Desk:Ns News Online Desk: TOKYO (Kyodo) — The Japanese government’s “Go To Travel” subsidy campaign covered 25.18 million domestic overnight stays for about two months since its launch through the end of September, the tourist ministry’s preliminary figures showed Tuesday.

During that period, the government funded a total of 109.9 billion yen ($1 billion) in discounts under the program, which is aimed at boosting the tourism sector hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The scheme will last through the end of January.

Guests took advantage of the initiative which offered a 35 percent discount for hotels and package tour costs, paying on average 12,000 yen per person in lodging expenses.

Although some have pointed out that bookings are skewed toward luxury hotels rather than cheap ones, as guests find the scheme allows higher returns at expensive accommodations, tourism minister Kazuyoshi Akaba told reporters Tuesday that travelers are using the campaign for “every price range.”

Around 16.89 million domestic overnight stays were covered by the program between July 22 and Sept. 15, with the government shouldering a total of 73.5 billion yen in discounts, according to the data from hotels and travel agencies across the country.

The number of stays and the amount of subsidies are expected to increase as the government added on Oct. 1 a 15 percent discount in the form of coupons for shopping and dining at travel destinations.

Moreover, travel to and from Tokyo, which was initially excluded from the campaign due to the high number of new virus infections, was added to the program the same day. Tokyoites comprise 10 percent of the domestic population.

The overall discount under the program is capped at 20,000 yen per person per night and at 10,000 yen for a day trip.

The government allocated 1.35 trillion yen for the initiative, estimating it would be used for 73 million overnight stays and 48 million day trips. The scheme may be extended past the end of January, if the budget does not run out.

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