Tourism suppliers in Tokyo are brimming with optimism that the upcoming addition of the capital city to Japan’s Go To Travel domestic travel campaign will inject a much-needed boost to local businesses.
From October 1, residents in Tokyo will be eligible for the campaign, and Tokyo will be included in travel packages and accommodation plans under the Japan Tourism Agency scheme.
The addition of Tokyo to the campaign is part of the Japanese government’s bid to shore up its flagging economy, and comes on the back of falling number of new coronavirus cases in the capital.
Hopes are high that Tokyo’s population of 14 million people and GDP of US$1 million will give the campaign a much-needed boost. Due to mixed messaging from local governments and customer reluctance, response to the campaign has been lukewarm, attracting only 13.4 million people to stay overnight during the period of the campaign’s launch on July 22 through end-August, according to a report by the tourism ministry.
Hans Heijligers, head of Japan IHG and CEO of IHG ANA Hotels Group Japan, expressed optimism that “people are ready to start travelling more and explore Japan”. He said the addition of Tokyo will “hopefully provide a much-needed additional boost to our markets,” citing four new hotel launches in Japan under the brand, including Hotel Indigo Hakone Gora, near Tokyo; and Kimpton Shinjuku Tokyo.
Steve Dewire, general manager of Grand Hyatt Tokyo, said the hotel is enjoying an increase in October and November reservations under the campaign.
“We started to offer a staycation package over the summer and saw a gradual increase of domestic bookings, but we can already see that this new campaign will give us an even bigger boost in business,” he said. He added that, combined with the campaign, Hyatt’s package offers 51 per cent off the standard room rate, which would be “very appealing to the domestic market and will help the hospitality industry as a whole”.
Suppliers near Tokyo are also expecting an uptick in visitors, as Tokyoites seek a countryside destination.
Mike Harris, chief refreshing officer at adventure activity and glamping provider Canyons Ltd in Nagano Prefecture, said: “With the inclusion of Tokyo, we are expecting our autumn to be even busier than normal, as 60 per cent of our summer clients are from the Tokyo region. For this reason, and the fact that temperatures are forecast to be high this autumn, we have extended our summer season of activities to mid-November.”