Virus Spike Striking Japan Travel Industries Hard

Economy

Tokyo, July 31 (Jiji Press)--An explosive resurgence of the novel coronavirus across Japan is heavily weighing on tourism industries, which had been pinning high hopes on a recovery in travel demand during the summer vacation period.

Their disappointment has been exacerbated by the Japanese government's decision Friday to expand its coronavirus state of emergency to Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures, all neighboring Tokyo, and the western prefecture of Osaka and to newly give pre-emergency status to five prefectures, including Kyoto, western Japan, which have many tourist spots. The state of emergency currently covers Tokyo and the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa.

"We usually see our rooms fully occupied in August, but the room booking rate has been under 50 pct for August this year," an official at a hotel in the city of Kyoto said. "This summer may end like this."

Sales have nearly halved from a year before at a souvenir shop in the same city. "We have no expectations from the summer holiday period as new COVID-19 cases have been increasing rapidly," Moe Yamauchi, manager of the shop, said.

The state of emergency for Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa and Osaka, and the pre-emergency for Kyoto and four other prefectures will run from Monday to Aug. 31. The emergency for Tokyo and Okinawa, earlier slated to end Aug. 22, has been extended until the end of August.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press