National

Travelers must shoulder all costs for new Go To Travel exclusions

Jiji

If more regions are excluded from the government's Go To Travel tourism promotion campaign, discounted portions of the fees for trips to such areas booked before their exclusions will be covered by the travelers, the Japan Tourism Agency has said.

While Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Monday that the government is not considering excluding regions other than Tokyo from the campaign for the time being, the agency's new policy is expected to trigger widespread confusion as such costs were initially planned to fall on the shoulders of businesses accepting the travelers.

The government decided on the policy change after deciding that having businesses make up for such discounts is not possible under the system for the campaign, according to the agency.

For example, a person purchasing a ¥20,000 travel package consisting of flight and accommodation fees would only have to pay ¥13,000 under the tourism promotion campaign, but the person would need to pay the discounted portion of ¥7,000 as well if areas including the destination are excluded from the campaign after the travel was booked and if he or she nevertheless chooses to go on the trip.

The government also decided not to shoulder cancellation fees for trips to and from regions that will be newly excluded from the program, while government compensation is available for cancellations fees for trips to Tokyo and for Tokyo residents' trips outside the capital, already excluded from the tourism promotion campaign.

Travelers may have to shoulder the cancellation fees depending on their travel contracts.

Suga said Monday that the government "is not considering excluding areas other than Tokyo at the moment" from the campaign.

The top government spokesman made the remark, indicating that urban areas such as Osaka and Aichi prefectures, where novel coronavirus cases are surging, will remain in the travel discount program.

The Go To Travel campaign began on July 22 with the exclusion of trips to and from Tokyo, where infections have risen sharply.

The campaign will run through the end of January next year, offering discounts and coupons worth up to ¥20,000 in total per person per night of stay.

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