A recent survey on foreign visitors to Japan found that more than a half of those surveyed were not provided with information on the new coronavirus at hotels they were staying, such as where the infection had spread and what precautionary measures could be taken.
The survey, conducted on 256 tourists between Jan. 29 and 30 by Survey Research Center Co., discovered that 55.5 percent of the visitors had to search for information about the outbreak on their own.
The visitors were surveyed at Tokyo Tower at a time when the first suspected case of human-to-human transmission of the virus was reported in Japan and the government started bringing back citizens on charter flights from the central Chinese city of Wuhan where the outbreak began.
Of the 256 respondents, 66.8 percent said they tried to collect information on the epidemic through websites from their home countries, followed by 55.1 percent who relied on social networks and online communication with friends.
According to the survey, 30.5 percent said their hotels provided information on the virus in languages they could understand, while 5.1 percent said information from their hotels was only in Japanese.
Those who got information from Japanese TVs and radio totaled 19.1 percent. Of all the respondents, only 4.7 percent picked the Japanese broadcast media as the most useful source of information, while 48.2 percent found their home country’s news media more helpful.
Some said they couldn’t get information such as where in the country the infections were detected and which places should be avoided.
Asked what kind of measures were taken at hotels they stayed at, 51.6 percent said there were hand sanitizers, followed by 34.4 percent who said no special measures had been taken and 16.4 percent who said they were asked to wash their hands and gargle.
Responding to a question of what kind of preventive measures they took, 80.9 percent said they washed their hands and gargled, followed by 75.4 percent who said they used hand sanitizers and 70.7 percent who said they wore masks.
As of Wednesday, the number of people on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship who tested positive came up to 174, the health ministry said, bringing the number of cases in Japan to 203.
With the number of infected people growing in Japan, tourism experts fear that more foreign tourists will avoid choosing Japan as a travel destination, dealing a blow to the country’s economy.
Japan, which hosts the Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo this summer, aims to attract 40 million foreign tourists this year.