The government said July 19 it will cover cancellation fees incurred by Tokyoites and those who planned to travel to the capital after Tokyo was excluded at the last minute from a domestic tourism promotion campaign to help coronavirus pandemic-hit regions.
The “Go To Travel” campaign, which kicked off July 22, was plunged into disarray after the government said July 17 that trips to and from Tokyo will not be covered by the scheme because of a surge in infections in the capital.
The program subsidizes up to half of all travel expenses, including accommodation and transport costs.
Tourism minister Kazuyoshi Akaba said the government will cover the cancellation fees for trips to and from Tokyo reserved between July 10 and 17, the day he said the capital would be excluded.
The move came amid growing public anger after Akaba also said that the government had no plans to cover the losses.
Hotel and shop operators at popular tourist sites complained of confusion surrounding the campaign, which has seen a slew of changes since its formal announcement on July 10, as well as concern about a spread of infections.
The ¥1.35 trillion travel campaign was initially slated to begin in August but was brought forward to start ahead of the four-day holiday weekend beginning July 23.(Kyodo)