Japan eyes expansion of private lodging to boost tourism

posted on October 21, 2015

Japan is considering allowing ride-hailing services and expanding private-residence lodging to lure more foreign tourists.

Such services would be allowed in designated deregulation zones. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday instructed a government panel to discuss specific steps.

"We need to make sure that foreigners visiting Japan have a pleasant stay," Abe said, pledging to remove regulatory obstactles hampering tourism-related services.

The number of foreigners visiting the country surpassed 10 million in 2013 and surged to 13.41 million in 2014. With the number having reached 12.87 million in the first eight months of this year, the annual total is seen approaching 20 million. The government hopes to ensure that Japan will be able to accommodate the rapid growth.

With the surge in foreign tourists, a shortage of lodging facilities in central Tokyo is growing serious. Currently, guests must stay at least seven to 10 days in the same home, but this has proved inconvenient to tourists who want to visit several regions across Japan. The government will consider shortening the minimum stay duration.

If the service becomes wide-spread, even to domestic travelers, it could lead to increased consumer spending. But operators of traditional ryokan inns, whose occupancy rates are lower than hotels, are likely to object.

source by newsonjapan
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