Explaining the Go To Campaign

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The Japanese government started to pay people to travel during the coronavirus. 

Sounds crazy? Maybe so.

In July of 2020, The Japanese government launched a campaign called the Go To Campaign where they would subsidize up to 20,000 yen per night per travel. This was combat the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Japan’s solution for recovering the economy was the Go-To Campaign where they subsidize up to 20,000 yen per night per hour. 

Let’s take a deeper look.

Why did they start the go to Campaign?

In 2020, the Coronavirus (covid-19) impacted the world and people’s daily lives have changed completely. Masks started becoming mandatory, social distancing became a daily practice, and travel was no longer an option. 

As many of you may know, Japan is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia. On top of this, they spent around 12.6 billion US dollars to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics because they expected an additional 10 million tourists. 

However, instead of an increase, there was a 99.9% drop in tourists because of the coronavirus. So in order to save the travel industry, as well as the whole economy, the Japanese government invested 12.9 trillion yen into the Go To Campaign to increase domestic travels and support businesses nationwide.

who qualifies for the go-to campaign?

Anyone in Japan qualifies for the Go To Campaign. You don’t have to be Japanese and regardless of visa type, anyone who is in Japan at the current moment is able to take advantage of this campaign.

go to campaign details

The Go To Campaign started in July 22,2020 for residents and travelers that are outside of Tokyo. Because Tokyo had the most number of covid-19 infections (and people), the government supported any type of travels that were outside of this urban metropolis. 

However, the campaign didn’t see much results because most middle/upper class citizens lived in Tokyo (aka rich people). As a result, they included Tokyo into the Go To Campaign starting October 1, 2020.

How much does the go to campaign cover?

 The Go To Campaign covers up to 20,000 yen, or up to half the price, per night per person for travels in Japan. The campaign also covers day trips up to 10,000 yen per personThere are also unlimited times that you can use it, which is what makes it so attractive.

From the discounted cost, 35% of it goes to travel costs, which are hotel, transportation, and travel agency fees. The remaining 15% goes to other expenses at the destination, which includes food and shopping. 

So to fully understand how this works, let’s go over some scenarios. 

Travel cost scenarios

Scenario 1: Travels cost 40,000 yen per night

If your travels cost 40,000 per night, you get a 14,000 yen discount on your travel fee and receive 6,000 yen worth of local vouchers.

Scenario 2: Travels cost 10,000 yen per night
If your travels cost 10,000 per night, you get a 3,500 yen discount on your travel fee and receive 1,500 yen worth of local vouchers.
Scenario 3: Travels cost 50,000 yen per night
If your travels cost 50,000 per night, since the upper limit is 20,000, you get a 14,000 yen discount on your travel fee and receive 6000 yen worth of local vouchers.

day trip scenarios

Scenario 1: Day Trip costs 20,000 yen
If your day trip costs 20,000 yen, you receive a 7,000 yen discount and 3,000 yen worth of local vouchers.
 Scenario 2: Day Trip costs 5,000 yen
If your day trip costs 5,000 yen, you receive a 1,750 yen discount and 750 yen worth of local vouchers.
Scenario 2: Day Trip costs 30,000 yen
If your day trip costs 30,000 yen, it’s the same scenario as Scenario 1 and you receive a 7,000 yen discount and 3,000 yen worth of local vouchers. 

When does the go to campaign end?

The Go To Campaign ends when the funds are exhausted, which is estimated to be around the end of January 2021. However, the funds are being used faster than expected, so there is a possibility that the government will add more funds to this campaign to last until the end of January.

local vouchers during your travels

When traveling, the Japanese government also wants you to support the local businesses as well, so they provide the remaining 15% subsidization in the form of local vouchers which are either in paper or electronic form, depending on the accommodation and how you book your travels.

Paper vouchers

Paper vouchers, you receive at the accommodation and they look something like this.

(source: goto.jata-net.or.jp)

On the vouchers is the official Go To Campaign logo, price of the voucher, prefectures where you can use the voucher, and the expiration dates. 

Electronic vouchers

If you don’t receive a physical voucher at your accommodation, then your vouchers are most likely online and you can access them here.

When you’re filling out your information to access your electronic vouchers, you’ll need a couple of information:

  • Booking agency ID (ID lookup table)
  • Reservation confirmation number
  • Prefecture

Every time you open a new browser to access your coupons, you’ll need to input this information so make sure to have your info ready before making a purchase!

how to use the local vouchers

You can only use the local vouchers at your destination prefecture and it’s neighbors. As for stores, it has to be somewhere that’s registered with the Go To Campaign.

On the Go To Campaign website, there’s a map that shows you shops that accept them, and what type of coupons they accept. There’s a huge variety in the type of shops that accept coupons. They range from convenience stores, supermarkets, restaurants, drugstores, and shopping centers. Note that once you use the coupons, you don’t get back change, so be careful.

From our experience, most places accepted the paper coupons, but we had a hard time finding somewhere that accepted the electronic ones.

How to use the Go to Travel Campaign 

In order to receive the go to travel benefits during your travels, you need to book your travels through a registered travel agency or booking company. There are two scenarios when it comes to using the Go To Travel Campaign: booking a travel package or booking your travels separately. 

If you book your travels separately, meaning you book your hotel, transportation, and activities separately, the Go To Discount usually only applies to your hotel. On the contrary, if you decide to go with a travel package, the Go To Discount applies to the travel package and everything it may contain. This usually includes transportation and hotel. However, the drawbacks of a package are that there’s less freedom of choice, there’s a travel agency fee attached, and it often includes a middle to high-end hotel which may not fit budget travelers. 

where to book your travels

Unfortunately, many booking agencies and platforms in Japan are in Japanese, but there are some that offer English. Here’s a list of recommended travel agencies to consider for the Go To Travel Campaign. 

  1.  Nippon Travel Agency (English available)
  2.  Japan Wonder Travel (English available)
  3. Booking.com (English website)
  4.  H.I.S (English available)
  5.  Jalan.net (Japanese only)
  6. Yahoo! Travels (Japanese only)
  7. JTB (Japanese only)

what is go to eats campaign?

The GO To Eats campaign is another variation of the Go to campaign to support local businesses, for those that aren’t traveling. When you make an online reservation with the Go To Eats Campaign, you receive back points which you can use for different purchases later on. 

For lunch reservations you receive 500 yen worth of points per person and for dinner, you receive 1000 yen worth of points per person. However, in order to receive the point benefits of this campaign, there are 2 conditions:

  • make an online reservation with an official registered reservation service
  • register your point card with your account.
As for the type of points, it comes in existing 
 
For the points, it’s existing point systems. (T-point, Docomo, Rakuten, etc.)
Some online reservation service include:
As for the type of points, it’s in whichever form the online reservation site uses. For example, I used Tabelog and I received T-points, which can be used in places like Family Mart, Yoshinoya, and Maruetsu. 

The Go To Eats Campaign is estimated to last until January 2021 and the points can be used until March 2021.

safety precautions for covid-19

This campaign is a great way to go out and experience travels and dining that you haven’t been able to try, but let’s not forget that the coronavirus is still around. Whenever you go out, always make sure to:
  • wear a mask
  • use hand sanitizers frequently
  • avoid big groups
  • any other precautions that could help lower the infection rates as possible

conclusion

The Go To Campaign comes in many different variations and it’s definitely a good way to boost the economy. By practicing safety precautions while also spending, we can help bring up the Japan economy together while also having a good time!
I hope that this information was useful to everyone and don’t forget to wear a mask!
 
Also feel free to share this information with anyone else that might be interested in the Go To Campaign!

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