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Japan travel products eligible for government discounts sell out quickly

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Coupons issued under the national travel discount program are seen at a travel agency in Chiba Prefecture on Tuesday.

Travel products eligible for discounts under a new government program launched Tuesday sold out quickly on some reservation sites, prompting local governments and other entities to scramble to arrange more sales.

The tourism campaign subsidizes travelers up to ¥11,000 per person per night. This is the first nationwide program aimed at boosting domestic tourism demand since the Go To Travel campaign was suspended in December 2020.

The program was launched Tuesday across the nation, with the exception of Tokyo. It has a budget of about ¥560 billion, which the central government allocated to local governments as subsidies, and the money is paid to travel agencies and reservation websites that handle eligible products.

Shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday, major travel agency Kinki Nippon Tourist Co. said that products eligible for subsidies in 46 prefectures had sold out, as it had reached the limit of the money provided to the company by those prefectural governments.

The company said it would resume sales if additional funds became available.

Major travel reservation website operator Ikyu Corp. also saw its Yamagata Prefecture products sell out in less than two hours, according to a company official.

The Yamagata prefectural government is arranging to start additional sales in a few days. An official of its tourism revival strategy division said, “It was unexpected that the initial subsidies ran out so quickly, but there are more funds available.”

Discounts for travel and accommodation in Tokyo are scheduled to start on Oct. 20.