According to The Asahi Shimbun, huge discounts are being offered for flights to and accommodation in Hokkaido to help revitalize the economy of the main northern island following a recent big earthquake.
The government on Sept. 28 set aside 15.3 billion yen (US$ 135 million) from its budget to support rebuilding efforts on Hokkaido. Subsidies will be provided to travel agencies and hotel operators to allow them to offer tours at a discount.
Japan Airlines Co. and All Nippon Airways Co. have also begun a new early-reservation program with steep discounts on flights to and from Hokkaido.
A similar government subsidy program was implemented in 2016 following a series of earthquakes in Kumamoto Prefecture, southern Japan.
The subsidies will go to travel agencies and hostelries so they can offer discounts of between 50 and 70 percent per night for tours and accommodation.
Foreign tourists would receive a discount of 70 percent, but there will be an upper limit of 20,000 yen for each night's discount.
The discount will only be allowed for three nights for Japanese visitors, while foreign tourists will benefit for five nights.
The tours are expected to go on sale from Oct. 1 and extend until March 2019.
Under the JAL discount program, flights within Hokkaido will also be covered. A maximum discount of 84 percent will be implemented for flights between Tokyo's Haneda Airport and New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido. The cheapest ticket under the program would start from 6,400 yen. The program will run from Oct. 28 until March 30.
For foreign tourists, the cost of a ticket from Haneda to New Chitose will be discounted from 10,800 yen to 7,560 yen.
ANA's discount program will cover flights to and from Hokkaido from Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. Currently, early-reservation tickets between Haneda and New Chitose cost 9,200 yen, but that would be discounted to 9,000 yen.
The discount program will run from Nov. 6 until March 30.
For foreign tourists, the cheapest seats for flights between Haneda and New Chitose will fall from 10,600 yen to 5,400 yen.
Airline officials said more details are available on their websites, including the periods and specific flights for which the discounts will not apply.
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