As the number of tourists in Japan continues to rise, various government agencies have launched campaigns to promote buying travel insurance, appealing to the tourists’ peace of mind.
In recent years, there has been a surge in travellers leaving Japanese hospitals with unpaid medical bills, putting pressure on their budgets, Kyodo News reported. A government survey also revealed that close to 30% of inbound tourists did not have any overseas travel insurance.
And with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics approaching, the number of travellers to the country is expected to rise even further.
In response to this, government agencies are taking various actions to encourage foreign travellers to buy insurance. These include placing flyers at tourist information centres in airports and hotels, as well as relying on the scare factor by distributing cards that show the price of the most expensive hospital treatments.
The Japan Tourism Agency created a flyer which read, “Have you remembered to book your peace of mind?” referring to travel insurance. The flyer, which is also available in Chinese, Korean, and Thai, is being distributed in various airports across Japan and informs tourists that they can easily buy insurance from their mobile device, even after landing in Japan.
The agency has launched numerous campaigns, including a robot selling insurance at the airport, to encourage foreign tourists to purchase travel insurance in Japan, but success has been limited, the report said.
In 2018, the agency conducted a survey which found that 27% of foreign travellers arrived uninsured, while 48% said they purchased cover from travel agencies or insurance companies and 23% enrolled in travel insurance plans through credit cards. One in every 20 tourists, or 5%, fell ill or suffered injuries while in Japan.
According to the survey, the top reason why foreign tourists were uninsured was because they thought it was unnecessary, while others said they did not consider it at all or were simply unaware of it.