Japan gov’t to promote staggered holidays to curb congestion, virus spread

TOKYO : The Japanese government stressed the need for individuals to take their holidays at different times of the year in its annual tourism report released Tuesday to reduce congestion and the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The government also advocates in the latest white paper measures to limit contact between people at accommodation facilities to lower the risk of contracting the virus.

Given a 99.9 percent plunge from a year earlier in inbound tourists to 2,900 in April due to strict border controls, domestic travelers will be “key to the recovery” of tourism demand in the immediate future, it said.

The government had already been advocating for a change in travel routines before the pandemic began earlier this year, but with little success.

To encourage staggered holidays, the latest tourism report proposes workstyle reforms such as a “workation,” in which people are advised to work remotely at their holiday destination.

The report also proposes accommodation operators introduce their facilities to visitors with written materials instead of explaining them in person during the check-in process. At hot spring inns, it recommends limiting the number of people who can enter the baths at one time.

Regarding the government’s “Go To” domestic travel subsidy and coupon campaign to cope with the impact of the virus, the white paper said it will be launched once the pandemic settles down to “substantially build up demand.”

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Preparation of the campaign has been put on hold amid criticism over its huge costs.


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