Road to Recovery: 43 Travel Operators in Japan - The negative financial impacts? (Series 2)
OPINION PIECE BY MIKI TAKASHIMA (Osaka, JAPAN)
April 24, 2020
Covid-19 situation in Japan: As of April 16, the government's "Declaration of a State of Emergency" is effective in 47 prefectures (English Overview).
It is common knowledge that the outbreak of Covid-19 suddenly created a halt in travel, both domestically and internationally. Japan's tourism and surrounding service economies will easily suffer from this decline in visitors from overseas, as non-essential services are "strongly requested" by the government to continue to keep their doors closed.
The following figures are telling of this particular situation:
The Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) has published a press release dated April 17, 2020, on the impact of COVID-19 for the month of February 2020.
Overseas travel: 76.1% * Inbound into Japan: 64.3% * Domestic travel: 85.4% *
(*) All figures represent sales & financials related to travel/tourism activities, comparative to February 2019
In this press release (available only in Japanese), 43 out of the 48 of the major Japanese tourism/travel operators reported a clear decrease in sales figures, and only 5 saw an increase - although a strong assumption can be made that these numbers will continue a negative trend in the months to come. [Figures are inclusive of all travel classes and categories.]
What can we do now to prepare for this massive decline in tourism?
Tourism operators and hospitality professionals need to keep a close eye on how consumers will regain their confidence to travel again. What needs to be emphasized is the fact that travel operators and major stakeholders cannot go back to the past. Consumers will require major industry players to present innovative ideas of reasonable accommodations and sanitary practices to ensure a safe environment for end-users when traveling in packs and enclosed environments like that of air-crafts and public transportation.
I am hopeful that the world is becoming cleaner and healthier in the meantime....