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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Japan Using Deregulation To Boost Tourism

Above, the main entrance of Hotel Sunroute Asakusa in Tokyo. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Japan is taking steps in deregulation to boost foreign tourism numbers.

According to Nikkei Asian Review:
TOKYO -- Japan's tourism ministry is set to call for more deregulation to boost the number of foreign tourists to the country. 
The ministry and its Japan Tourism Agency plan to propose bills aimed at ending the dominance of licensed bilingual tour guides and making it easier for hotels and inns to sell package tours, among other things. 
The number of tourists to Japan reached 19.7 million in 2015, and the government has set a new target of 40 million for 2020.
While it sounds well and good that the Japanese government is deregulating things to boost tourism, I have to question the wisdom of this when the country has inadequate numbers of accommodations for visitors even as I type this. The number of available rooms were just fine when tourism was below 10 million annually. They will need to accelerate the construction of more hotels to meet the increased demand, especially since they expect to double the number of visitors in the next four years.

Above, Hotel Asia Center of Japan. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I've noticed during the planning stages of my last two trips to Japan that it became more difficult to find reasonably-priced hotel rooms in Tokyo. This was made necessary as my favorite Tokyo hotel, Asian Center of Japan, was either booked up or part of their facilities were undergoing renovation, thereby cutting the number of available rooms. So I had to look elsewhere.

To read more, go here.

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