Funny business: World bitten by the ‘make corona a money-spinner’ bug

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Published: May 30, 2020 5:00 AM

The Covid pandemic is forcing companies and economies to woo demand far harder than usual to make money.

with a notoriously inward-looking culture, she shouldn’t have to pay for all of it, right? Japan has now clarified that it won’t pay half, but was considering subsidising only a “portion” of the costs incurred by a tourist within its territory.Japan has now clarified that it won’t pay half, but was considering subsidising only a “portion” of the costs incurred by a tourist within its territory.

Survive, then thrive. That seems to be the mantra for countries and companies alike as the Covid-19 pandemic rages. And, to survive as an economy or a company in these times of falling demand, you really have to woo the buyer hard. Japan, it would seem, is quite ready to go the distance. A week or so earlier, social media was agog with the ‘news’ that the Japanese government, under its Go To travel programme, will foot half the costs incurred by a tourist visiting the country.

Now, Japan is not a cheap country to travel in, and a half-the-bill discount seemed the perfect bait to dangle to pump oxygen to its tourism and hospitality sectors. After all, if a tourist is to expose herself to corona-risks at multiple airports, from possible contact while travelling within the country, etc, and that too miles away from home, in a land with a notoriously inward-looking culture, she shouldn’t have to pay for all of it, right?

Japan has now clarified that it won’t pay half, but was considering subsidising only a “portion” of the costs incurred by a tourist within its territory. How big that portion will be, has perhaps been left deliberately vague. For the bait to work, Japan will have to give the tourist enough of an incentive.

Then, there is a metalware company that has diversified into “I survived corona” metal wristbands and other gear. Even as many small and medium firms in emerging economies face near-certain death because of the various movement restrictions that countries are implementing, there are dozens springing up, recognising opportunity.

From one US hat-maker making custom-designed headgear that come with face-shields attached to an Indian enterprise offering “bridal masks”, every day, more seem to be bitten by the ‘make corona a money-spinner’ bug.

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