National

Love it or hate it? 10-day Golden Week holiday draws mixed reactions

JIJI

The 10-day Golden Week period from April 27 to May 6, during which the Imperial succession is scheduled to take place, has received mixed public reactions.

The travel industry is eager to take advantage of the unusual business opportunity, while a survey indicated that those who welcome the upcoming holidays and those who do not are nearly evenly split.

This year’s Golden Week has 10 straight days off including May 1, designated as a one-off national holiday because Crown Prince Naruhito is set to rise to the throne that day.

According to major travel agency JTB Corp., the number of reservations for overseas trips during this year’s Golden Week has already tripled from the previous year. Luxury cruise ship tours are particularly popular.

Usually, demand from aged people and honeymooners is robust for Golden Week tours. This year, however, “we’ve seen many reservations from corporate workers and for family trips,” an official said.

Besides Hawaii, which is a popular tourist spot for Japanese, Europe and other places relatively far away from Japan are popular as travel destinations, the official added.

Expectations are running high also in the marriage consulting service industry.

Many young people start konkatsu spouse-hunting activities after being told to do so by their parents during their visits back home during the holiday periods, major service provider Zwei Co. explained.

“We are considering starting a discount campaign, expecting the number of customers to increase just after the Golden Week period,” an official said.

Meanwhile, a survey by major travel booking website Expedia shows that 46 percent of respondents said they are not happy about the upcoming Golden Week holidays.

Many in the “not happy” camp said they will be busy with work amid labor shortages or with household chores because their husbands and children will be at home, according to the survey of 400 people, conducted in October 2018.

Mutsumi Goda, 40, who is a single-parent karate instructor raising two kids, is among those who are unhappy about the 10-day holidays.

“With after-school care services closed, there’ll be no place to leave my children,” said Goda, who cannot expect to take leave during the period.

“Workers paid by the day or hour will only see their income decrease,” Shuichiro Sekine, an executive of Haken-Union, a labor union, said. “I haven’t heard anybody say they welcome the holidays.”