TOKYO -- The government will pay up to 20,000 yen (about $176) per night for foreign and Japanese tourists visiting the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, to support the local economy faltering due to a wave of cancellations following the Sept. 6 earthquake there.
Under the Fukko-wari (recovery support discount) program, foreign visitors on tour programs will have up to 70 percent of their travel costs covered for up to five nights, while the program covers three nights for Japanese visitors.
The government also intends to strengthen the call center managed by the Japan National Tourism Organization, as it proved challenging to provide disaster information to foreign tourists during recent calamities including the Hokkaido quake.
The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to allocate 15.3 billion yen for these tourism promotion initiatives, as well as for support measures targeting dairy farmers and small- and medium-sized companies whose businesses were damaged because of the Hokkaido quake and subsequent prefecture-wide blackout.
According to the Hokkaido Prefectural Government, total economic damage caused by the quake has reached 180 billion yen. The figure rises to nearly 212 billion yen if 29.2 billion yen in damage sustained by the tourism industry due to hotel reservation cancellations is included.