Japan Travel Sector Benefits from Surge in Domestic Tourism. Loophole Still Persists

While countries all over the world are gradually opening borders for international visitors, Japan travel sector has even now barred visitors from 159 countries. Post being shut for a long time; Japan is now considering plans to welcome tourists from April 2021. As per the plan, the following changes will be introduced:

Since the country is bracing itself for Tokyo Olympics that have now been rescheduled to take place in 2021, its likely that the new plan will initially allow only those travelling for the Olympics.

Meanwhile, Japan’s travel sector is now witnessing a sudden surge in the demand for domestic travel. Based on travel experts, travelling to a local destination involves lower levels of anxiety as compared to a far-flung escape. Consequently, people are switching to the trend of micro tourism that prevailed in the 1970s when people preferred heading out for ultra-short vacations in restricted budgets.

In a recently held interview with Asahi.com, CEO of Hoshino Resort Co. — Yoshiharu Hoshino spoke about how Japan travel sector can work in the coming times in order to survive the pandemic losses. He said, “One of the ways to make the vacation experience better for everyone is to schedule holidays throughout the year”. He highlighted how tourist arrivals are proportional to holidays by stating, “If we can stagger holidays so the travel industry can rely on a constant number of visitors throughout the year, it would help everyone”.

Even though this move will boost domestic tourism and fetch revenues for businesses that are reliant on inbound tourism, the sudden surge in tourist arrivals will also increase threat for the spread of covid-19. Considering the lack of adequate medical facilities in the local regions, this shift in Japan’s travel sector could pose a bigger problem for future.

Moreover, with the rising demand for domestic tourism, consumers and providers of the travel sector must now try to encourage the idea of sustainable travel.

While Japan’s government is encouraging sale of coupons and vouchers to boost the travel industry, several promotional programs are failing because they are being worked out in a rush. For instance, the recent launch of the Go To Travel Campaign has received mix responses. Since tour companies are offering amazing travel packages under the campaign (some quite over the top), travellers are eager to visit the rural parts of the country.

In such a scenario, only time will unfold if Japan’s travel sector is actually benefitting from the boost in domestic tourism or the increased tourist arrivals will make rural regions new breeding grounds for the spread of coronavirus.

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