What new information do we know about the Go To Travel Campaign?
As COVID-19 cases are still high around the globe, the Go To Travel Campaign is encouraging travel domestically in Japan, excluding Tokyo. There has now been more information divulged about the campaign with the publication of the Go To Travel website (Japanese) and new travel guidelines.
Despite speculation, the Japanese government, with aims to boost domestic travel, has established the Go To Travel Campaign which pays out subsidies of up to 50% for travel within Japan. Due to the increase of cases in Tokyo, travel to and from Tokyo will not be subsidized and is excluded from the campaign. The discount may include accommodation, transportation, tourist attractions, and restaurants.
There have been updates on how to apply for the subsidiary with the publication of the website Go To Travel website last week and the update of the travel guidelines on 2nd August.
In an attempt to keep travelers and locals safe, guidelines for a “New Travel Etiquette” have been published. Some of these include checking your temperature every morning, mask-wearing, shopping by sight instead of touch, and doing tourist activities during times likely to be less busy. If you are planning on traveling remember to read through the guidelines, available in PDF form.
What is the Go To Travel Campaign?
It is a government campaign during which the government supports up to half of the total cost of your domestic travel for overnight or day trips.
As of 27th July 2020 packages, accommodation, transport, and other travel commodities sold by eligible travel and lodging businesses will be available for sale at the discounted amount. You can search the eligible businesses on the official site (Japanese).
The subsidiary given is split into discounts and coupons, which is where it gets a little confusing. Out of the subsidy amount, 70% percent is given as a discount on the cost of the trip and 30% as a coupon that can be used at the destination. Only these two combined will give you 50% off.
The maximum benefit limit is 20,000 yen per person per night for overnight trips. The benefit limit is 10,000 yen per person for day trips.
There is no limit on the number of consecutive nights or the number of times you can stay.
The coupons will be available from September 2020 onwards. If you travel before that date, you will not receive a regional coupon and you will be eligible for a discount of 35% of the total cost of your trip (not 50%, as the 50% off is only available by combining the discount and coupons). The information on the coupons will be available on the official site when decided.
Discount examples as shown per the website
Travel from 22nd July 2020
Example: Package tour or overnight trip
If you apply for a one night, two-day overnight trip of 40,000 yen per person, the benefit amount will be 14,000 yen and the traveler will pay 26,000 yen.
Example: Day trip
If you apply for a day trip of 20,000 yen per person, the benefit amount will be 7,000 yen and the traveler will pay 13,000 yen.
*As coupons will be available only from September 2020 onwards, travel before then will only receive a discount on the cost of the trip (35% of the total cost of the trip).
Travel from 1st September 2020 (Tentative)
Example: Package tour or overnight trip
If you apply for a 40,000 yen per person overnight trip with an overnight stay, the amount you will pay is 26,000 yen.
Of the 20,000 yen benefit amount, 14,000 yen will be discounted and 6,000 yen will be given as a region-wide coupon.
Example: Day trip
If you apply for a one-day trip of 20,000 yen per person, the amount you will pay is 13,000 yen.
Of the 10,000 yen benefit amount, 7,000 yen will be discounted and 3,000 yen will be given as a regional coupon.
Who can apply for the benefit?
Firstly, you may not need to apply because as of 27th July 2020 businesses now have trips and accommodation for sale at the discounted amount. If you booked your trip before the 27th July, or if your trip was not discounted at the time of sale you can apply if you meet the criteria below.
- Your trip must be a trip or accommodation eligible for Go To Travel Program support starting after Wednesday, July 22
- The trip must end on or before Monday, August 31 (or check out on Tuesday, September 1 for trips that involve overnight stays).
- At the time of purchase, the product (hotel, package, transportation etc.) bought from a travel agency, booking site accommodation facility, etc. was sold at the full price, without any discount for the Go To Travel Campaign already deducted.
*The application method for stays after 1st September is yet to be determined.
*Travel to and from Tokyo is currently not included in the campaign.
How can I apply for the benefit?
Applications for the refund start from 14th August and end 14th September.
The application procedure differs depending on how you reserved your travel. ① and ② are two different methods.
① If you have made a reservation through a travel agent and paid for your trip before you travel, you do not need to apply for a refund at the Go To Travel Office. Please contact the travel agency you have applied to for a refund.
② If you have made a reservation directly with the hotel or through a reservation website you should apply for a refund to the Go To Travel Office.
If you have to apply for the refund, find the necessary document list below!
Documents required to apply for the benefit
According to the Go To Travel guidelines and website, the following should be prepared and send by mail:
① Refund application form (Form No. 1) Download here or check on the Go To Travel Website
② Documents showing the breakdown of payment (receipts, breakdown of payments, etc.) Download here or check on the Go To Travel Website
③ Certificate of Accommodation (showing name, date of stay, number of guests, etc.) Download here or check on the Go To Travel Website
④ Bank Account Confirmation Information for Travelers (Form No. 2) Download here or check on the Go To Travel Website
⑤ Documents to verify the bank account (copy of a bankbook, cash card, etc.)
⑥ Documents to verify postal address (copy of driver’s license, health insurance card, etc.)
⑦ Any other documents that may be designated as necessary by the Secretariat to confirm the fact of the trip to which the application relates
The postal address will be updated before the applications open on 14th August.
*The documents linked above were taken from the Go To Travel Website on 6th August 2020. There is a possibility the documents may change and we recommend double-checking with the office Go To Travel Website when applying.
For more information, you can call the Go To Travel Information Line.
Go To Travel Office Call Center
Tel: 0570-002-442 (Office hours: 10:00-19:00, open 365 days a year)
Tel: 03-3548-0520 (Hours: 10:00-17:00, closed on weekends, holidays and New Year holidays)
Or via their LINE account at @goto_travel_line.