Tourism minister Kazuyoshi Akaba on Friday stirred further confusion over the Go To Travel campaign, urging people young and old booked in large group tours not to participate as they might spread the coronavirus or get sick.
Akaba’s recommendation creates further confusion over who is eligible for the government initiative, which offers subsidies to spur domestic travel and is scheduled to kick off on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the government excluded Tokyo, which has the most coronavirus cases in the country, from the initiative amid concerns traveling Tokyoites might worsen the infections.
The commotion comes amid a recent increase in young and asymptomatic carriers.
Akaba said specific age groups and tour sizes for the advisory are still under consideration, but said a group of 50 travelers getting together to socialize at their destination would be an example.
School trips led by teachers, however, will be covered by the travel campaign, he said.
Under the ¥1.35 trillion ($12.6 billion) tourism push, the government will eventually subsidize up to half of tourists’ travel expenses, including accommodation and transport, with the government initially providing discounts worth 35 percent of the total.
The remaining 15 percent will be covered by coupons to be issued after September for food, shopping and other travel activities offered at destinations, according to the tourism ministry.
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