Stories from around the archipelago focusing on the plight of the beleaguered tourism industry:
- On the heels of news last year that H.I.S. will shut one-third of its 260 domestic outlets, fellow travel agency JTB is reportedly planning to close 20% of its offices in Japan, or around 100 outlets, over the next five years. Interviewed by Jiji, the head of another operator, Hoshino Resorts, stressed the need for “risk diversification” and a shift from inbound travel toward “microtourism.”
- The “wacky Tokyo” segment of the tourist market saw some notable casualties last year, noted Patrick St. Michel in a recent Japan Pulse column. Robot Restaurant and MariCar/Street Car were problematic, sure, but they were also bold and ambitious. And as noted in yesterday’s T5, now Kawaii Monster Cafe has bitten the dust. But expect more zany options to crop up once inbound tourism revives — visitors to Tokyo will surely demand it.
- With the termination of government employment subsidies this month, Okinawa is bracing for a “March Crisis” of potential mass layoffs in the tourism industry. As The Okinawa Times reports, authorities are grasping for short-term solutions, such as job secondments, but in the longer term, getting Okinawans to travel more within the prefecture could be key.
- The pandemic has forced the tourism industry in Aichi to consider rebuilding its strategy from scratch, reports the Chunichi Shimbun. Many hot-spring resorts are struggling to make the switch from relying on groups of Chinese tourists, conference-goers and company workers to focusing on families and individuals.
- With the COVID-19 crisis having wiped out inbound travel, Hokkaido companies are seeking to reach Chinese tourists on their own turf. While some are building a physical presence on the mainland, where the economy has rebounded quickly from the impact of the virus, others are tapping into the country’s huge e-commerce platforms to sell their wares, reports the Hokkaido Shimbun.