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Japan faces severe accommodation shortage

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Hotel rooms in short supply in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka
As Japan gears up to host the Olympic Games in 2020, the country’s government has plans to attract 40 million foreign visitors a year by that time. But travel firms are concerned about the lack of infrastructure, especially accommodation capacity.
With eight trillion yen (€65 billion) in tourism receipts expected, Japan is making sure the arrivals targets are met. There are plans to further relax visa requirements and improve access to regional airports, for instance.
Steps are being taken to address the lack of rooms, such as an easing of rules for private home rentals. But even then, the popular destinations of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka will simply not have enough accommodation by 2020.
“The basic problem we are facing is that we cannot secure sufficient hotel rooms. The rise in the number of people coming to Japan is already so steep that travel agents are not able to cope,” said Tetsuya Takeda, general manager, inbound division, Nippon Travel Agency.
“Even now, we are turning down clients because we cannot secure accommodation, with the situation the most difficult during cherry blossom seasons.”
But, as Geoff Tudor, senior analyst for Japan Aviation Management Research, explains, “the government’s plan is to encourage visitors to go to other regional airports, where capacity is still available and local communities are keen to welcome tourists”.
TTG Asia

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