Osaka's tourism industry hit hard by typhoon
Japan Today -- Sep 12
Osaka's tourism has been hit hard as last week's typhoon ripped through western Japan causing a partial closure and reduced flights at Kansai International Airport.

Typhoon Jebi caused one runway at Japan's third-largest airport to be flooded, making one of its two terminals inoperable, while the sole bridge linking the airport on a man-made island in Osaka Bay to the mainland was damaged as a tanker ripped from its mooring smashed into it.

Although both domestic and international flights have partially resumed, only 10 percent of international flights were operating as of Tuesday.

While cleanup efforts are under way in the flooded terminal, its escalators and elevators were not working and electricity was cut off in some areas.

There were some signs of recovery at the other terminal as restaurants and convenience stores started to re-open, but the usual mass of foreign passengers -- mostly Chinese, Koreans and South Asians -- are gone. Many seats remain empty in the lobby.

"The number of foreign visitors is low and passengers are few. We don't think we will recover easily," said a public relations person for Peach Aviation Ltd., a budget airline with an office at the terminal. "We think the typhoon made an extremely negative impression on tourists so we need to emphasize the safety aspect."

Osaka's tourism industry is worried about the sudden reduction in visitors to the city.

The number of tourists to Osaka Castle has almost been cut by half compared with last year due to the typhoon.

Only 4,000 people visited on the first Saturday after the typhoon, and about 4,100 on Sunday compared with a daily average of 7,600 in fiscal 2017. The figure had translated into 2.75 million visitors that year, composed equally of Japanese and foreign tourists.

Hotels were also hit hard by the typhoon and there was prolonged traffic disruption. "Many foreign tourist groups have canceled their reservations and there are few new reservations," said one hotel manager, where 40 to 50 percent of its customers are foreigners. "Reservations had already gone down after this June's earthquake. Recovery has become even more difficult now," the person said, referring to a powerful earthquake that hit the Osaka area on June 18.

News source: Japan Today
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