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Japan’s travel surplus in 2020 decreased by 20% due to travel restrictions. The money spent by international travelers shrunk from ¥2.7 trillion in 2019 to just ¥562 billion in 2020. Also, only 4.1 million tourists entered Japan in 2020 which pales in comparison to 31.9 million in 2019. 2020 was its lowest level since 1998.

With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Japanese government anticipated 40 million tourists in 2020. Along with this, Japan also expected a $300 billion income from tourism if not for the pandemic.

Will Summer Olympics Boost Japan’s Tourism?

The Summer Olympics was then postponed to July 2021. But despite the vaccine rollouts in different parts of the world, it was reported in a recent survey that 80% of Japanese citizens don’t think that the Olympics will happen.

However, Japan is pushing for the Summer Olympics to take place by July. It was reported that Japan won’t require athletes to be vaccinated to be able to compete. Only regular COVID19 tests and temperature checks are in place for all participating athletes.

Japan spent approximately $25 billion to host the 2020 Olympics. And even without athletes and tourists roaming around, this can still be a potentially lucrative event for Japan. 73% of the Olympics’ revenue will come from the global broadcast rights. Sponsorship will add another 20% while the event itself will promote Japan.

Promoting Domestic Tourism

Japan also tried to boost its domestic tourism via the Go To Travel Campaign on July 22 last year. This Japanese subsidy program covers up to 50% discounts on domestic trips. Discounts include transportation, hotels, and restaurants among many others.

Japan suspended its Go To Travel program on December 28 after experts believed that it was responsible for the spread of COVID19 cases in the country.

The government ends its second COVID19 state of emergency on March 7. And despite ending the state of emergency, Japanese officials are not ready to resume the Go To Travel program just yet. Officials said that they are carefully considering whether or not to restart the program in March.

According to one of the officials, “It is still necessary to analyze the infection situation in each region”. This means that it might take some time before Go To Travel Program is ever going to resume.

John Michael Jayme
John Michael Jayme
John Michael Jayme is a Travel Analyst for The Jet Set. He writes about news and events affecting the travel industry.




by Virgin America Flight Attendant
TJ Newman



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