Japan on Wednesday (Jul 22) kicked off a national travel campaign aimed at reviving its battered tourism industry,
but the effort has drawn heavy criticism amid a jump in new coronavirus cases.
The “Go-To Travel” initiative is supposed to boost the tourism industry with travel subsidies of up to 50 percent.
But as coronavirus cases surge, travel to and from Tokyo has been removed, and politicians want the
campaign suspended for fear it will spread the virus.
A poll showed that 69 percent of the public want it canceled
But many of Japan’s governors wanted the campaign delayed or amended out of fear it would spread
the virus to rural areas with low infection numbers,
while a Mainichi newspaper poll this week showed 69 percent of the public wanted the program canceled entirely.
The criticism underlines the public’s growing exasperation with what critics say are mixed messages as
the government tries to boost the economy while containing the virus.
Hiroaki Gofuku, the president and general manager of Hotel Nikko Osaka, said he hoped that the campaign would be a boost for the ailing tourism industry, but that he was also cautious not to be overly optimistic.
“Tokyo is our big market,” he said. “With this mess, we’re seeing more cancellations.