Japan trade receptive to Airbnb’s legalised status

In the face of hotel room shortage and an anticipated inbound boom with the upcoming Rugby World Cup and Olympics, the Japanese trade has largely welcomed the legalisation of Airbnb in the country, which enables homeowners to now legally let out their properties for up to 180 days a year if they register with local authorities.

“Many of my fellow innkeepers have been interested in registering with Airbnb but have been hesitant for fear of tacitly supporting illegal activity,” said Tyler Lynch, proprietor of Kamesei Ryokan and member of the Ryokan Hotel Association in Nagano Prefecture.

Yamanaka, Japan 

The deregulation has paved the way for these ryokans to capitalise on opportunities brought in with the sharing economy wave. “Several travellers use only Airbnb for accommodation,” he explained.

Shuhei Akahoshi, managing director of Kyoto Convention and Visitors Bureau, welcomes the added clarity on a previously grey area.

Aside from relieving Kyoto’s shortage of family-sized accommodations and enabling visitors to have more cultural experiences, Akahoshi said legalisation “has the potential to stimulate greater competition and drive new innovation from our industry”.

A spokesperson from inbound tour operator I Love Japan Tours has not made a decision on whether to now use Airbnb, but added that the company had received cancellations from customers upon finding out that Airbnb accommodation was not offered.

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