Belgium Giving All Residents Free Train Trips to Boost Travel (Video)
When lockdown measures end, domestic trips will be essential to boosting the travel industry again.
As Belgium slowly reopens after three months in quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic, the government is now offering free 10-trip rail passes to all residents in the country, according to Lonely Planet.
The government decided to provide these rail passes in an effort to stimulate the economy and encourage domestic tourism. After spending most of spring indoors, a lot of people are looking for ways to safely travel during the summer months.
The passes will be valid from July to December of this year and can be used anywhere in Belgium. Other countries have implemented similar incentives to help people travel again, including Japan and New Zealand, according to Lonely Planet.
Among the many ways the government intends to support its people in the coming months, employers will also have the opportunity to issue a tax-deductible €300 (about $337 USD) voucher to their employees to be used in restaurants, bars, cultural attractions, and other businesses, the Brussels Times reported.
Belgium began slowly reopening the country on June 8 after a total of 60,155 confirmed cases and 9,663 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University of Medicine. Businesses, restaurants, bars, hotels, and other establishments have resumed operations, though social distancing measures are still mandatory. The government is requiring people to maintain 1.5 meters (about five feet) of distance, according to Lonely Planet. Travel restrictions on tourists from within the European Union, the UK, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein were also lifted on June 15.
Many other countries around the world are also slowly reopening businesses and lifting travel restrictions for tourists, domestically and internationally, during these peak summer months — although travelers may opt for trips that are closer to home for the time being.