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Tourism industry elated by victory

Olympic Games to boost tourism, give shot in arm to economy

JIJI

The tourism industry is cheering the news that Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Olympics since the major sporting event is certain to become a money-making bonanza.

“The anticipated increase in foreign visitors will have a significant effect on the Japanese economy,” said an official of major travel agency JTB Corp.

The capital’s hosting of the first Summer Games in 56 years is expected to be a tailwind for the government’s goal of boosting the annual tourist count to 10 million in 2013 and over 30 million in 2030.

“I’m pleased that Japan was again granted a chance to gather the world’s attention. Our industry will work as one to make Japan a tourism-oriented country,” said Jungo Kikuma, chairman of the Japan Association of Travel Agents.

“It is important for Japan to have foreigners see Tokyo and learn about Japan,” said Tetsuro Tomita, president of East Japan Railway Co.

Tomita is echoing many in the travel industry who hope to spur tourism by promoting food culture and Mount Fuji, the recently registered UNESCO World Heritage site, for example, and by increasing fans of Japan.

At the same time, Tomita acknowledged that there are still many shortcomings in Japan in terms of urban tourism.

An official of Kinki Nippon Tourist Co., which helps manage sporting events, said, “We are hoping to play an active role not only in the Olympics, but also in test competitions,” which will take place in Japan one to two years before the Olympics.

Also, hotels are excited about the Tokyo’s selection.

“We hope foreigners will visit Japan for the Olympics, make good memories and come back again,” said an official of Imperial Hotel Ltd.

Park-and-ride eyed

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Olympic bid committee will consider a park-and-ride system to reduce automobile traffic during the 2020 Summer Olympics.

The already heavy traffic jams that plague central Tokyo are expected to get even worse as the public transportation system is forced to absorb an estimated 10.1 million extra staff and tourists from Japan and abroad for the athletic spectacle.

Tokyo, however, believes that no new roads or railway lines will have to be built, thanks to its sophisticated transport networks covering highways, expressways and train and subway lines.

Still, metro government officials say the possibility of serious traffic jams in central Tokyo cannot be ruled out.

Tokyo was picked to host the 2020 Games at a general meeting of the International Olympic Committee in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

The metropolitan government plans to set “Olympic lanes” on a total of 317 km of existing streets that will be used to link the Olympic village with competition venues and airports.

But heavier traffic jams might occur since only Olympic-related vehicles, including those carrying athletes, will be permitted to run on the specially designated lanes.

Under the envisaged park-and-ride system, parking areas would be set up near Tokyo borders with neighboring prefectures. People will be asked to leave their cars there and use railways or other public transport to head for the center of of the capital.

In addition, the logistics industry will be asked to limit truck operations in central Tokyo during the games.

In the meantime, shuttle bus services will have to be offered to and from the waterfront districts where the competition venues will be concentrated, because public transport services remain insufficient there.

  • El Anon

    just throw around any number, we won’t check. Let’s see, 10 million visitors for Olympics. How many planes is that? Let’s say 4 planes for every 1000 people. 10 million means 10,000 planes would have to land, each carrying 250 tourists. So, that means 1000 planes landing every day for 10 days in July-August. Where can they land 1000 planes in Japan. Wait, my math is wrong … It should be 4000 planes per day? Can anybody do math anymore? How about 30 million tourists a year. HOw many planes per day. Or maybe they’ll have bridges to China and Korea by then? A hydrofoil to America? People can say anything when it comes to the Olympics, and you’ll write it, they’ll believe it.

    • Mark Garrett

      “… certain to become a money-making bonanza.”

      They said it so it must be true!

      To be fair, regarding the tourism numbers, it does read “annual”, however your point is still valid.
      And while I agree that tourism should be a primary focus in Japan, there is simply no reason to believe that a visit to the Olympics will be anything but a one time deal for most folks. If you really want to make a good impression and encourage returnees, try improving the infrastructure, i.e. burying some of the utility lines, removing a few of the many many abandoned derelict buildings (sorry haikyo fans!), etc.

      Speaking from my own personal experience, people who have never been to Japan have a distinct mental picture of what it should look like, but that image is dashed about 15 minutes after arrival. Expecting something out of The Last Geisha when visiting Kyoto? Sorry.

      I love this country for many reasons, but aesthetics isn’t one of them!

  • Murasaki

    Sorry to say I am angry we got the Olympics, I can bet the government will use the money for the reconstruction of Japan because of 3/11 on this Olympics garbage! The Government will make money, but 100,000′s effected by 3/11 will still be suffering. Been over 2 years now and hardly anything done!

  • Japanish

    The reason why Tourism is such a struggle for Japan is that the country is expensive and very ugly, and (now) irradiated. It has a lot of natural beauty, but outside of overcrowded rip-off tourist spots, it’s very hard to get to them. The only really sustainable “Tourism” that Japan has is selling electronics goods and medicines to Asian tourists. Onsen could be a growth industry if the Japanese deigned to let foreigners in to them en masse, so I won’t be holding my breath on that one.The Olympics is an excuse for more uglification IMO.