Tokyo hotels wait for '2021 Olympics' with empty guest logs to fill
Nikkei -- Mar 26
A day after the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games were postponed by a year, Tokyo's landmark Imperial Hotel began arrangements to release the several hundred rooms it had withheld for organizers of the games during the July-September period.

The hotel, located near the Ginza shopping district, will begin accepting reservations from the public. But it comes at a challenging time. The Imperial saw a 50% drop in foreign guests in its Tokyo and Osaka hotels in February due to coronavirus travel restrictions. Overseas guests account for half of the group's guests.

Yet things could have been worse. An outright cancellation of the games would have been disastrous. Having managed to avoid that nightmare scenario, the stock price of operating company Imperial Hotel surged 19% at one point on Wednesday, after nearly a week of declines due to growing anxiety.

The Imperial's fortunes mirror many in Japan's travel and hospitality industry -- they are relieved that an Olympic cancellation has been avoided but apprehensive given the ongoing impact of the coronavirus on the world's third-largest economy.

During the Olympics, some 46,000 hotel rooms per day had been reserved for the games' organizers. Now the task of replacing those bookings begins.

For Kanako Takahashi, manager of Hotel Toka, a small budget inn located in eastern Tokyo, the postponement was simply bad news with no immediate silver lining even visible. She expects another six months of "catastrophe" for her business.

Takahashi said that all 13 rooms in her establishment were fully booked from the end of July at a rate of nearly 30,000 yen ($270) per night for a single bed, five times higher than usual. But now, she is sure that "100% of these bookings will be canceled."

The hotel was already suffering from the closure since Feb. 29 of Tokyo Disneyland over coronavirus concerns, given its location just half an hour away from the amusement park. "Nearly all family visitors with several nights (of reservations) canceled their bookings in March and quite a few for April too," Takahashi said. "We have run this hotel for more than 20 years. We need to make it through this challenge."

News source: Nikkei
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