Slow return of Chinese tourists stalls Japan’s hotel recovery


TOKYO — The Japanese hospitality industry’s recovery from COVID-19 has reached a standstill, despite government travel incentives and an increase in foreign tourists, as travelers from China return slowly.

Japan’s average occupancy rate for hotel rooms fell 10 points on the month to 64.2% for January, according to U.S. research firm STR, falling below 70% for the first time since September.

Japanese border controls for travelers from China were eased Wednesday, ending a requirement that all visitors be tested for COVID-19. But it will likely take some time before tourists from mainland China return, according to a Seibu Prince Hotels Worldwide representative.

Pre-virus occupancy came to around 80% on strong demand from foreign tourists. Occupancy plunged as low as the 10s at the height of Japan’s border restrictions.

The recovery picked up from October 2022 following a government campaign that provides subsidies for hotel stays as well as coupons for local businesses.

The relaxing of COVID-related border measures provided another boost, with occupancy reaching 76.4% in November — the highest level since the outbreak began.

Source: Nikkei Asia


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