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Japan wants to pay for half of your flights if you visit this year

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 26/05/2020 Laura Hampson

Woman wearing japanese traditional kimono walking at Historic Higashiyama district in spring, Kyoto in Japan. © Getty Woman wearing japanese traditional kimono walking at Historic Higashiyama district in spring, Kyoto in Japan. This year was supposed to be a bumper year for Japan’s tourism industry.

Still riding on the glow of the 2019 Men’s Rugby World Cup in September last year, 2020 would shine a spotlight on the nation once again with the Summer Tokyo Olympics.

Instead in April, which would normally see a buzz of tourists for the famed cherry blossom season, the country saw a 99.9 per cent drop in visitors year-on-year as people around the world were told to stay at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gallery: 10 holiday destinations to have on your radar for your first post-lockdown escape (Harper's Bazaar UK)

To help reboot the tourism industry, Japan could be offering to pay half the fee of flights for tourists who are looking to visit the country in the second half of 2020.

At a press conference last Wednesday, The Japan Times reported that Hiroshi Tabata of the Japan Tourism Agency said that the Japanese government plans to allocate $12.5 billion (£10.2 billion) to a new reimbursement programme that could launch as soon as July.

Woman with yellow jacket walking in the electronic town district of Akihabara, the geek ward of Tokyo, Japan © Getty Woman with yellow jacket walking in the electronic town district of Akihabara, the geek ward of Tokyo, Japan The Japanese government has not yet unveiled the particulars for this plan, and it is unclear if it will apply to both domestic and international travellers.

The new plan could mirror that of Sicily’s, the Italian island which has said it will pay for half the cost of flights and a third of the hotel room fee for tourists wanting to visit in autumn.

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