Japan’s transport and hospitality industries are struggling to find enough staff to keep up with a rebound in demand, as tourists return to the country after the borders reopened a month ago.
The number of people working at hotels and inns is 30% below pre-pandemic levels, according to the Japan Accommodation and Lodging Foundation, while airlines and tour bus operators are reporting full bookings.
To a certain extent, Japan’s struggles mirror what the United States and Europe saw over the summer, when a rebound in travelers overwhelmed airports and travel businesses that had cut back on staffing. Although Japan didn’t go into full lockdown, the job market was already tight and people found other readily available work. Now, with the borders fully open to vaccinated travelers since Oct. 11, the nation is poised to see a tourism boom, thanks to strong demand and a weaker yen that’s making the country more affordable.