National

More than 200 cruise ship port calls in Japan canceled amid coronavirus outbreak

KYODO

More than 200 port calls by international cruise ships have been canceled since the beginning of February because of the coronavirus outbreak, a survey showed Saturday.

The cancellation of so many visits is likely to incur losses of several billion yen, an industry body said, noting that passengers are estimated to collectively spend an average of 30 million to ¥40 million ($270,000 to $360,000) at each port.

The Kyodo News survey of governments hosting Japan’s top 10 ports for cruise ships found that at least 206 visits had been canceled as of Friday, with the figure is expected to grow through the rest of the year.

Among the 10 ports, Osaka has seen the largest number of cancellations at 37, followed by Hakata at 31 and Naha in Okinawa Prefecture at 25.

By month, 121 port calls for February have been dropped, along with 53 for March, 23 for April and nine planned for May through December.

In most cases, operators of international cruise ships notified Japanese ports that the scheduled tours had been called off.

The number of canceled calls accounts for about 16 percent of 1,305 visits at the 10 ports last year. Given that demand for port calls by international cruise ships usually peaks in summer, the fallout on tourism from the virus outbreak remains uncertain.

The city of Osaka’s port bureau said it has been notified almost daily of port call cancellations for March and April.

“It’s very unusual to receive cancellations one after another like this,” said an official at the bureau, which controls Osaka’s port. “We are worried whether the impact will drag on into the summer.”

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