39 prefectures offer hotel discounts to revive virus-hit tourism

A total of 39 of Japan's 47 prefectures are offering or plan to offer customers discounts for staying at their hotels and inns to help spur demand that has fallen due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, a Kyodo News survey found Friday.
However, 25 of the 39 prefectures have restricted the discounts to local residents, reflecting their wariness in attracting outsiders and triggering a second or third wave of infections in the country as Japan only stopped requesting people not to travel across prefectural borders on Friday.
The central government will launch its "Go To" domestic travel subsidy and coupon campaign in early August to help revive local economies coping with the impact of the virus.
A total of 22 prefectures have already made their discounts available and 17 were scheduled to do so.
The five prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa, Yamanashi, Hiroshima and Kumamoto said they are considering the option, while Saitama and Hyogo prefectures said they have no plans, and Tokyo said it was undecided.
Among the 22 prefectures already implementing discounts, Toyama has been giving up to a 15,000 yen discount per person staying at accommodation within the central Japan prefecture, and people have been flocking to apply for the discount since early June, it said.
"The decline in tourism has been severe due to people refraining from travel for a long period. We want to revive demand gradually," said a prefectural official in charge of the program.
Miyazaki Prefecture is selling a hotel coupon worth 5,000 yen for 2,500 yen, allowing their use until the end of September at 260 hotels and other accommodations within the southwest Japan prefecture.
While many prefectures have restricted the use of coupons to their own residents, Fukushima Prefecture is planning to expand the scope of people eligible for its discount program from early July as it expects more tourists to start visiting from other prefectures.
Among the remaining 14 prefectures that make the discount available to non-residents, Ehime targets residents of the four prefectures on the island of Shikoku -- Ehime, Kagawa, Kochi and Tokushima -- as well as nearby Hiroshima and Oita prefectures.
Yamaguchi Prefecture, which seeks to attract tourists from across Japan, has decided not to implement any restrictions regarding residency.

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