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Japan is one of the most unique countries on the face of the earth. No matter how many times you visit, you will always see (or experience) something that makes you say “this is amazing! Why didn’t I know about this the last time I was here!?” It’s one of my favorite countries!
If you’ve been following the journey, you may recall that I recently postponed a scheduled trip to Japan in ANA First Class because of the current pandemic.
Japan is one of the countries that I am most looking forward to visiting once this virus has passed and I trust Japan is looking forward to more visitors too.
Yesterday, the country released some sobering stats concerning travel. For example, international arrivals fell 99.9% for April 2020 (year-over-year) and it was the first time since 1964 the amount of monthly visitors had dropped below 10,000.
How far below 10,000 you ask? An estimated 2,900 foreign visitors visited Japan in April. And the worst part about this equation is April is one of the busiest months for Japan as many visitors flock to the country to see the Cherry Blossoms.
But the numbers shouldn’t be surprising.
In an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, the country took early and extremely proactive measures banning foreign travelers from 76 countries (including the US) in April. Then, at the beginning of May, Japan increased the number of banned countries to 103 countries.
With this effort, the country did not experience the same numbers that many other countries in the region experienced.
Note: You can find the entire list on the Japanese National Tourism Organization’s website.
BUT LET’S TALK ABOUT PAYING ½ OF MY TRIP THOUGH…
According to an article in the Japan Times, the government is “planning to lure back foreign visitors by covering half of their travel expenses” and could begin as soon as July if the coronavirus subsides.
The details have not been released about the ¥1.35 trillion (USD $12.5 billion) program but I expect some parameters to be implemented.
In other words, I would not recommend buying a First Class airline ticket and reserving a room at the Aman Tokyo with expectation that half of the costs will shouldered by the Japanese government.
I heard Anthony Bourdain once say “you will not blend…you will not immerse…but you will have a true, true adventure” in an interview speaking about his favorite country of Japan.
I never understood that phrase until I visited Japan. It’s an experience that everyone should have!
Since I’m already planning to return to Japan, I’m definitely interested in how I can have my trip subsidized. I will keep my eyes open and you’ll be the first to hear about it.
Has anyone been to Japan? What was your experience? Are you interested if 1/2 of your trip is paid for? Anyone planning to go to the Olympics (for 1/2 off)?