The government's Go To Travel logo Photo: Transport Ministry
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Japan's Go To Travel subsidy program to resume possibly in February

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This is good news for many!

-2 ( +16 / -18 )

A waste of money for others !

7 ( +27 / -20 )

Before we have to listen to the same flawed protests as last time... Heed the word "subsidy".

Its a subsidy on local tourism. Not a handout for the rich, as so many lacking the most basic grasp of economics were claiming last time.

And we don't need any examples of how poor people can't afford to stay at hotels... That demographic would never have travelled anyway, and are not consumers of the industry this is aimed at reviving.

Subsidy. Look up the word "subsidy"

-9 ( +17 / -26 )

I'm gonna do Kyoto!

-9 ( +12 / -21 )

Single, childless & retired persons will enjoy the presumed lack of crowds at that time of year!

Parents will still be working since children should still be in school at that time.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

However, MANY parents will most likely pull children out of school so the entire family can enjoy each child’s  ¥,100000 “Kishida’s Kash for the Kids” handout!

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

Hopefully, with this predictable surge in domestic tourism, the elderly will leave the driving to tour buses drivers? In addition to the proposed renewal of the GoToTravel program, the J government should look into other matters affecting tourism as well: SAFETY.

Perhaps ALL drivers will need one guide/monitor on EVERY bus to assist with temperature checks, Covid prevention measures, cleaning, etc. ?

In essence, EACH bus needs “staff” NOT a tired, solitary driver responsible for EVERYTHING should be well-trained, well-staffed and well-rested before getting on the mountain roads. Plus, watch out for the little ones!

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

Great news, and only for the fully vaccinated..even better news! Okinawa here we come!

-16 ( +7 / -23 )

The government is considering lowering the per night subsidy cap to 13,000 yen as the relatively large original discount was criticized for benefiting luxury hotels rather than more reasonably priced operations, according to the sources.

The tourist industry creates low wage, dead end jobs that can be wiped out with the next viral spike with zero job security in this environment.

And as stated above, it needs subsidization to survive and those subsidies are consolidating industries to the advantage of the big players.

Before we have to listen to the same flawed protests as last time... Heed the word "subsidy".

Its a subsidy on local tourism. Not a handout for the rich, as so many lacking the most basic grasp of economics were claiming last time.

And we don't need any examples of how poor people can't afford to stay at hotels... That demographic would never have travelled anyway, and are not consumers of the industry this is aimed at reviving.

Subsidy. Look up the word "subsidy"

Your reason is indeed exceedingly rare.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

I want to see the proper and only true tourism-boosting campaign - OPEN UP INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL AGAIN NOW

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

If we need a Covid test, as was indicated, that will eat up a lot of that savings

6 ( +12 / -6 )

ExtraPat...

If we need a Covid test, as was indicated, that will eat up a lot of that savings

Not if you are vaccinated. Only the anti vaccers will need to show negative pcr test..

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

I am not sure if this is the best use of public money, but there is no doubt that it will greatly help certain sectors of the economy.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Those that can go to travel ™ in Japan already have the money to do so, they can go travel without subsidies, handouts and cheaper paid for deals. They have the money. The money needs to go to those that need it. Those who don't have disposable income. Those that can not afford to go to travel, as they have no money. QED. Very, very, very simple economics.

18 ( +23 / -5 )

Simian Lane

I want to see the proper and only true tourism-boosting campaign - OPEN UP INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL AGAIN NOW

It is highly unlikely that Japan will operate the Go To Travel program while unrestricted foreign tourism is once again allowed (people would be quite unhappy if these tax-derived benefits are given to foreign non-tax payers).

So don't expect Japan to re-open until the Go To is completed (and how long do you think they will run this program, for just a month?)

More likely would be for Japan to first re-open to fixed-route tour groups for foreigners, where they can be monitored for Covid and controlled in movement, as well as have contingency plans for them if there is a Covid situation.

Seriously, if severely sick Japanese people were sent home in the last wave because hospitals were too overwhelmed, what would happen if sick gaijin started popping up in some rural town (or even a city), unable to communicate? Can't get sent home to quarantine... hotels won't want them... can't use public transport... do they even have travel insurance..? (Japan does not require foreign tourists to have travel insurance)

Unrestricted foreign tourism is still a long, long way off.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

I think it's a really good idea to stimulate the economy and help businesses that have been shuttered for two years get back on their feet.

The problem is the name: "Go To" will forever trigger "Suga" and all his incredible missteps during the pandemic.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

@snowymountain, as we've asked before, can you put all your points in one post rather than each point in a separate post. Thanks.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

@monkey Road: Not a chance. International travel from where? Europe? The US? No thanks.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Funny how this news comes when many Japanese nationals are angry over the money from the government is given to youngsters and not adults. Shame on you Japanese Governmental Officials!

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Funny how this news comes when many Japanese nationals are angry over the money from the government is given to youngsters and not adults.

screw them. they voted the same punks back in office. They made their bed. Now Sleep in it

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Save your money, don't be fooled with small subsidies, you will still be ripped off. Is sitting in bath eating an overpriced bento sipping a lukewarm asahi with the rest of the herd from Tokyo really your idea of a holiday?.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

So that’s why they are increasing hospital capacity.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

@UK9393

You are confusing the issue.

RareReason is right! This is a subsidy.

The debate on whether subsidies are effective or not is a valid talking point. There is an argument to be made for not propping up failing industries, but to be fair, that wasn't RareReason's point of discussion.

This isn't about who can afford to take advantage of a subsidy. A subsidy is encourage spending in a particular area.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

@elecfixer: Who subsidies the subsidy? QED. UK93 is BANG on with their point.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I am glad they decided to take time before they probably restart this and not just doing it from next month. What they did in the first place is why I was against it. It really is a better Idea to take time and really access how effective the vaccine truly is and weather or not an effective treatment is created to combat this Virus. If cases rise they can just delay it.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Hooray! Someone finally gets it.

There are subsidies to promote the purchase and running costs of hybrid/electric cars. The government pays some of the purchase price and reduces the yearly taxes for them.

Who here owns their own house? Well, unless you paid cash, chances are you have a mortgage. To encourage house purchases there is a subsidy on your mortgage. For 10 years you get 1% interest refund.

Why are you not up in arms about these subsidies? Because you don't understand the concept properly.

Yes... I understand subsidies are debatable. There is indeed a point to be made about letting bloated companies/industries fail, to be replaced by a better, more efficient business.

But that does not change the point that this is not a "handout for the rich", as so many still fail to realise.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

@Luddite, did you really mean 'increasing hospital capacity', or increasing 'hospitality' capacity? Same thing, I suppose. If everyone goes 'Go To' they'll need those extra hospital beds due to hotels and hostels and ryukans and all else being shut down. This is not the time of year to launch the program in Japan, unless it's solely directed to Okinawa and Hokkaido.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

More likely would be for Japan to first re-open to fixed-route tour groups for foreigners, where they can be monitored for Covid and controlled in movement, as well as have contingency plans for them if there is a Covid situation.

I think it is highly likely the border will be reopened for tourists this way. The reasons listed above will be stated, but the biggest reason is that it will help the biggest and best connected players in the market first (JTB etc.). The government does not care about little players, people with a backpackers or an AirBnB, folks doing small group culture tours, etc.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Thanks for reiterating my point to those pandemic-travel boasters begging for this again in recent weeks: “*Those that can GoToTravel already have the money to do so, without subsidies, handouts and cheaper paid-for deals. They have the money. The money needs to go to those that need it: Those who don't have disposable income. Those that can not afford to go to travel, as they have no money.”* @UK9393 7:42am:

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Thanks for your concern & suggestion @UK9393 7:57am. As @zichi (+10 years, over 35,000 posts!) has pointed out, this is an open forum, everyone is free to post & repost to any and all. Choose to read each separate point, each of which is subject to moderation, upvote/downvote, comment/rebut and then, move forward. - Best Wishes, mate!

- “… as we've asked before, can you put all your points in one post rather than each point in a separate post. Thanks.” -

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Personally I think the best way to help folks working in hotels would be to look at their December tax adjustment (nenmatsu-chosei) and give some relief money directly to anyone whose income has fallen by more than 30% compared to 2020 or 2019. Make it a sliding scale depending on how much their income is down and cap it at say 500,000 yen max to keep it under budget. Do this regardless of economic sector, not just hotels or restaurants. Lots of people have lost income due to the lack of travel, the lack of events, social distancing, the disruption to container transportation, the disruption to semiconductor supply (my own case), consumer uncertainty .... It is simple ignorance to assume only travel and restaurants have been hit by the pandemic. It is far more efficient to give people money directly based on tax returns than setting up complex schemes with coupons that need middlemen (JTB, Yahoo Travel, Jalan, Booking.com etc.) and bureaucrats to manage. The tax adjustment is done in December, which would also get the money out faster. If you have an income but don't file a tax return, well, don't expect the government to help you.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

*The revamped campaign is also expected to encourage people to travel more on weekdays, through measures such as handing out coupons worth 3,000 yen on weekdays for dining and shopping at travel destinations, while distributing 1,000 yen coupons on weekends and holidays, the sources said.*

Well, how do you define a "travel destination"? How would you know that the coupon user is a "non-local (read: traveller)"? Just as before in case of "coupons", people are just going to cash in their coupons for normal outings and household shopping expenses while decreasing the cash expenses they would have incurred. Hence resulting in a household expense cost saving tactic. Did this myself. Works fine. Thank you.

Concerning the "rich" vs "poor" subsidy debate. The actual issue is not actually limited to "rich" vs "poor". Some have correctly pointed out that "poor" people would not have and will not travel anyway which, obviously, would leave the "rich" as beneficiaries (in additions to the hospitality operators they use and which would be, again, in the upper bracket) who arguably would not have needed the subsidy anyway (hence: waste of public funds by channelling the funds to both serve providers and users who don't need it in the first place).

The subsidy to be of any efficient use would need to get the "undecided" (read: above poverty but under "wealthy" status or the not-so-rich) to travel. Being in that category myself and having until further notice no intention to travel, I've got my doubts on that (other people in that group may have a different POV). It would have made more sense to create an income upper-cap to specifically targeted these users. If the J-gov can do that for their 100K handout with a capped population in mind, they could do this for their GOTO campaign as well. Anyway, ultimately the key point is whether the "undecided" will make use of it or not. If yes, fine everything peachy. If not, well, obviously our taxes will subsidize the "rich" as the last remaining category of users to travel for more while paying less (this: questionable as far as efficiency and moral goes). In which case, direct subsidies could be more efficient and across the board of hospitality operators (again: subsidizing remains all-in-all debatable).

As well, as the above coupon-thingy goes, me believes it is just a "hidden" handout to the needy and cash-strapped to go through the week/month with the government being perfectly in the loop as to what will happen. (There were already several coupon programs in the past, each time resulting in the same scenario.) Also, there was that recent debate about females in the lower income-bracket who could not afford regular female hygienic products. Me wonders if there is no link between the "coupons" and these cases...?

Long story short: smoke, mirrors (to avoid losing face by admitting that a chunk of the population gets poorer by the year), with again the usual inefficiency of public spending of everybody's taxes. Direct subsidizing of the sector would have made more sense but been more expensive. The government just decided to "delegate" the decision on which operators to "save" to the consumer (read: no responsibilities taken, it's just tax-money). LDP economics for ya.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The revamped campaign is also expected to encourage people to travel more on weekdays, through measures such as handing out coupons worth 3,000 yen on weekdays for dining and shopping"

Thank you to J-Inc ( business travelers) and retirees for delivering the votes and re-electing LDP. You,re welcome, enjoy your weekday travels.

*Those that can go to travel ™ in Japan already have the money to do so, they can go travel without subsidies, handouts and cheaper paid for deals. They have the money. The money needs to go to those that need it. Those who don't have disposable income. "*

100% accurate.

Personally I think the best way to help folks working in hotels would be to look at their December tax adjustment (nenmatsu-chosei) and give some relief money directly to anyone whose income has fallen by more than 30% compared to 2020 or 2019. Do this regardless of economic sector, It is far more efficient to give people money directly based on tax returns than setting up complex schemes with coupons that need middlemenand bureaucrats to manage.

This!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Those that can go to travel ™ in Japan already have the money to do so, they can go travel without subsidies, handouts and cheaper paid for deals.

You also get those who would otherwise not have enough money to travel at full price. A neighbor of mine has a daughter that owns a pizza shop in the Kobe area. They usually get a lot of familiar faces as customers but during the campaign, they got a lot of new customers who would order the cheapest items on the menu then ride off into the sunset. Their shop didn't do as good as promised during the campaign.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

No subsidies, for any type of industry.

All industries fall on hard times now and then. We can’t have a subsidy program for everyone, we can’t afford it and the harm it does to us all in the long run.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

It is also studying a plan to run the nationwide campaign until the end of the Golden Week holidays in May and then switch to subsidizing prefectural governments' own tourism campaigns that promote travel for residents within their home prefectures, they said.

Well, it's rare but they've actually taken my suggestion all the way to the diet building.

I've always thought an inner-prefectural travel subsidy would be better as it would prop up the hospitality industry while encouraging travel to a limited area to control the spread of the vid.

Especially, back when some prefectures had close to zero or very low numbers of infected so that the chances of spreading the disease was much lower under the inner-prefectural plan. But when high infected prefectures like Tokyo and Osaka was allowed on to the scheme and they travelled everywhere, it was basically game over.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Trialling procedures to confirm peoples vaccination status.........

if ONLY there was a model to follow, some digital way to store proof of vaccination on a handy electronic device, small enough that people would carry around it around in their pockets and be able to show they've had the vaccine.......WHY GOD!! WHHHHHYYYYY

1 ( +2 / -1 )

UK9393Today  07:42 am JST

Those that can go to travel ™ in Japan already have the money to do so, they can go travel without subsidies, handouts and cheaper paid for deals. They have the money. The money needs to go to those that need it. Those who don't have disposable income. Those that can not afford to go to travel, as they have no money. QED. Very, very, very simple economics.

So true

Personally I think the best way to help folks working in hotels would be to look at their December tax adjustment (nenmatsu-chosei) and give some relief money directly to anyone whose income has fallen by more than 30% compared to 2020 or 2019. Make it a sliding scale depending on how much their income is down and cap it at say 500,000 yen max to keep it under budget. Do this regardless of economic sector, not just hotels or restaurants.

Exactly.

Unfortunately it has escaped the geniuses at the ministry, the politicians and the media.

Print coupons and hand to everyone rich or poor. Those who want to use it fine and does who

don't want to no problem instead of drawing a stupid conclusion that the poor won't use the go-to

campaign anywhere. Many low income earners and families want to use the go-to-campaign but don't

have the money to start with and leaving them out is not fair.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Many low income earners and families want to use the go-to-campaign but don't have the money to start with and leaving them out is not fair

Many low income earners and families want to have a new hybrid/electric car and want to use the government campaign to get a discount on one but don't have the money to start with and leaving them out is not fair.

Many low income earners and families want to buy a house and take advantage of the government campaign to get 1% refund per year but don't have the money to start with and leaving them out is not fair.

Many low income earners and families want to install solar panels and take advantage of the government campaign to get a higher Feed In Tarrif than current purchase price or electricity... But don't have the money to start with and leaving them out is not fair.

I could go on.

Do you still not understand?

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

@fxgai

No subsidies, for any type of industry.

All industries fall on hard times now and then. We can’t have a subsidy program for everyone, we can’t afford it and the harm it does to us all in the long run.

Ah good... Finally a point worth discussing.

I do see the merit of your point.

I still struggle with the short term hardships suffered for the benefit of the long term. I recall your point that it can be turned around quickly... But is Japanese culture as dynamic and fast to act as your previous examples in other countries?

I have no idea really, but the speed of change is the part I doubt.

I hope others can distinguish this debate on the effectiveness of subsidies from a debate on wealth inequality.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Excellent! I was just planning where I am going to go to travel in February.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I hope others can distinguish this debate on the effectiveness of subsidies from a debate on wealth inequality.

Exactly!!!

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Good thing about a subsidy programs is that the less successful it is, the less it will cost the govt.

A handout program on the other hand..

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

RareReason,

I still struggle with the short term hardships suffered for the benefit of the long term.

This is the role of the social security system, imo.

The social security system should generically ensure that all people are adequately provided for in hard times, preferably through their own savings, but with the rest of us providing a backstop for those who are unable to do so by themselves.

So the extent that people are undergoing hardships, let’s look at the social security system, rather than make various industries ( with lobbying power ) dependent on all our taxes via corporate welfare - this is how I think about that.

It is healthy in the long run for unviable industries to shrink naturally, and who knows, with climate change fighting, maybe tourism is one that should actually shrink. I don’t know, we need to let natural prices signals help find the right answer, and subsidies interfere with that.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

at least fix the kindergarden English! Just, Go Travel, not Go to Travel! For goodness sake!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Saying Go To Travel is signalling that not a single person in the entire government or department indicated that this was wrong grammar. That's some pretty incredible yes men you got there. Or is that got to there?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@fxgai

I suppose a better example would be Japanese agriculture, which most would argue has failed long ago and been propped up by subsidies ever since.

It now can't function at all without those subsidies and is steadily getting worse.

This argues your point quite convincingly! But also, unfortunately, shows how reluctant Japan is to change/modernise.

I guess the only way is, as you say, to force the change, by removing the incentives not to.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Awful news, benefiting only the selfish tourists and the greedy big hotel/resort chains.

I hate seeing my homeland swamped by Tokyoites pretending to like nature.

Feel sorry for Okinawans, also.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Again, the shot doesn’t prevent the spread nor people from getting sick, all it does it prevent serious illness...why make it compulsory to show proof of a shot that does nothing for people? These are basic questions people should be asking themselves. The head of the WHO has openly said this so what, we take the shot to make other people feel a false sense of security? But I have a feeling that this will be a plan to cause more spending by the government to create inflation. Japan has to follow in US footsteps.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

a shot that does nothing for people? 

No matter how many times you say this it won't make this true.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Again, the shot doesn’t prevent the spread nor people from getting sick

Why again? You were wrong the first time.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

How about Go To Supermarket?

I think we could all use monetary breaks on groceries.

Something useful for everyone.

Oh wait........that would be logical.

Japan doesn't do logic.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

How about Go To Supermarket?

but that would make a real sentence and have correct grammar, so not possible

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Hopefully, with virus case numbers down and more people double vaxxed this will not turn into a virus spreading event like last time they tried it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@sf2k. The sentence would need the indefinite article or the plural of supermarket to be grammatically correct. D -

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How about Go To Supermarket?

I think we could all use monetary breaks on groceries.

Something useful for everyone.

Seems they'll be doing something like that in the next round of handouts.

There'll still be cash but also coupons.

Of course cash only is best for us like the first handout but it didn't result in the desired level of spending the govt wanted

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Awesome then another ridiculous state of emergency to be followed by next to zero testing got to love that Japan model now dont ya all...

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Feel sorry for Okinawans, also.

Okinawa is the poorest prefecture in Japan by far. Without the US military and tourism they would be at third world levels of poverty.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Let’s wait and see… Without broad boosting beginning just right now, you all travel to hospital in February. Read the new Swedish study on vaccines efficacy to get a first impression. After three months you’re almost like an unvaccinated, especially men and elderly people, but latest after six months everyone. Better travel now while the numbers are still luckily very low and not then, when the planned 30% increase in intensive care hospital beds is turning out an insufficient approach again.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Me and my girlfriend thank all you Tax Payers....I'm retired and have plenty of money, seems kind of crazy, it is more of the rich people that will use it

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan has no clue-enacting the same failed campaigns again and again.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

So no date for when international tourism can restart? Had my holiday booked and rebooked for two years and counting lol

1 ( +1 / -0 )

RareReason,

This argues your point quite convincingly! But also, unfortunately, shows how reluctant Japan is to change/modernise.

Yes, I see Japan as an ultra-conservative place in the sense that they stick with the status quo until something really disrupts it. Like a revolution or a war.

Agricultural subsidies and protectionist regulations are working to ensure the decline of the Japanese industry, but it’s a vote collector for the LDP politicians while it lasts.

Freeing up the sector and abolishing subsidies would set the local industry on a more prosperous path (if examples like the New Zealand agricultural sector and its reforms are anything to go by), but protecting the status quo and causing a long term decline is the path chosen so far.

Its not just farming though, the entire economy needs to be unleashed and set free for innovators with new ideas to be unleashed.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Thunderbird2..

So no date for when international tourism can restart?

There is nothing stopping you travel abroad. well, nothing if you have the time to spend in quarantine.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kipling, you ever thought about how the virus and climate change are connected? I mean, they want to prevent climate change and you traveling to Okinawa isn’t helping right? So, they get you to take an experimental shot that may or may not have severe adverse reactions, which you won’t know about for a few years...their goal isn’t to protect people. Food for thought though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Okinawa is the poorest prefecture in Japan by far. Without the US military and tourism they would be at third world levels of poverty.

I think that's a bit of an overstatement.

And I think they care more about their lives and health than Tokyo tourist yen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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