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Hotels not worried as Airbnb soars in Japan


Numbers using Airbnb in Japan rose 529% in 2015
The fastest growing market in the world for Airbnb is Japan, but hoteliers and inn owners there say they are not worried about the progress being made by the online home rental marketplace.
The number of people using Airbnb’s service in Japan soared 529% in 2015, while the listings of properties have increased 373% to 21,000.
The figures are partly explained by an incoming travel boom in Japan. Last year also saw an influx of 19.7 million foreign visitors, up 47% on the previous year – worsening the existing shortage of accommodations, particularly in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.
“Japan is seeing an increase in the number of tourists and there are not enough hotel rooms, especially during the busy Golden Week and Obon seasons,” said Nana Nakajima, head of sales and marketing at Mystays Hotel Management.
“We don’t see Airbnb as much of a threat to what we do at the moment, although there is concern about what will happen after the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020, if visitor numbers drop off dramatically.”
Takashi Hasegawa, owner of Yagyu-no-Sho ryokan in Shizuoka prefecture, similarly played down the competition Airbnb poses.
“We offer something that is completely different to their service,” he said. “We are small, we only have 15 traditional rooms, and people want to stay with us because we are authentic and we provide a genuine Japanese experience. Anyone considering Airbnb wants accommodation that is cheap, but that’s not our business model.”
Airbnb is facing scrutiny from the Japanese authorities after questions were raised over property owners failing to pay taxes, as hotels are required to do. There are also concerns over hygiene and safety at properties not registered as providing accommodation. Changes to the Hotel Business Law are expected to be passed in the autumn.
TTG Asia


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