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Travel businesses reeling as Go To campaign suspended

JAPAN (The Japan News/ANN) -- The government’s sudden policy change, to suspend the “Go To Travel” tourism promotion campaign nationwide, has thrown tourism businesses into confusion during the busy year-end and New Year holiday period.
While the campaign is scheduled to be suspended from December 28 to January 11, the suspension is likely to be extended, depending on the

The Yokohama Chinatown district in Naka Ward, Yokohama, is less crowded than usual on Monday partly due to the suspension of the Go To Travel campaign.       --Photo The Yomiuri Shimbun

situation of novel coronavirus infections. The tourism industry could face a more depressing situation going forward.
Room rates slashed
Yokohama’s Chinatown district is a major sightseeing spot. Usually, its sidewalks are so crowded at this time of year that people are constantly dodging each other. But this year, the streets were uncrowded even around noon on Monday. “While our sales had recovered thanks to the Go To Travel campaign, the year-end and New Year period is going to be tough for us,” a souvenir shop manager lamented.
Accommodation facilities are busy responding to customers. Around the Dogo hot spring resort in Ehime Prefecture, most ryokan inns and hotels had been fully booked for the holiday season, but reservations for a total of 26,524 nights had been canceled as of December 24. The figure is equivalent to 3.5 percent of the annual number of overnight stays in the hot spring resort. If guests are scarce, accommodation facilities will incur losses even if they continue to operate. So some hotels and ryokan inns decided to close, letting their guests stay at different accommodation facilities, while others are asking their regular employees to take a leave from work.
In Kyoto, hotels usually raise their rates during this period. However, a hotel in the Apa Hotel chain at one point offered a room for less than ¥2,000 per person per night, not including tax. One hotel after another has offered rooms for ¥1,000 to ¥1,999, leading to a collapse of prices.

(Latest Update Deceember 30, 2020)

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