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Travel & Leisure

ANA domestic bookings double after Tokyo emergency lifted

Tokyo Disneyland to raise visitor capacity to 20,000 next month

All Nippon Airway's domestic bookings shot up as soon as the state of emergency in greater Tokyo was lifted. (Photo by Akiyoshi Inoue)

TOKYO -- Domestic bookings at All Nippon Airways doubled right after the government ended the state of emergency in the greater Tokyo area Monday.

ANA recorded about 55,000 reservations for domestic flights Monday, twice the average daily bookings in January and February. Although Monday's reservations are still 50% to 60% of the pre-coronavirus level of the same period in 2019, bookings are seen rising to roughly 70,000 this coming weekend.

Japan Airlines also enjoyed a roughly 30% jump in reservations for domestic flights compared with the previous week. Monday's bookings reached about 45,000.

With the state of emergency over, "it will be easier to come to Tokyo," said a 53-year-old office worker using Tokyo's Haneda Airport on her way back to Sapporo.

Other companies are preparing for consumption of services to recover. Theme park operator Oriental Land says it will raise the daily visitor limit for Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea to 20,000 each, starting April 1.

Daily capacity at each park had been slashed to 5,000 visitors through Sunday but now has been raised to 10,000 for the rest of the month. Disneyland will also be open for two more hours, and DisneySea for three more.

Parking fees at Tokyo Disney Resort will be 1,000 yen ($9.18) per vehicle for the first 18 days of April -- less than half the regular charge. This is to prevent overcrowding on trains and other public transportation.

East Japan Railways, the Tokyo-area rail operator known as JR East, says it will restore Gran Class service Friday on shinkansen bullet trains. Ticket sales for the premium seating resume Tuesday for the Tohoku, Hokkaido, Joetsu and Hokuriku shinkansen lines. Gran Class bookings had been suspended for them from Jan. 16 to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The restaurant industry in the Tokyo area, which includes Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama prefectures, is not expected to experience the same recovery because of the ongoing request to shorten operating hours. Restaurants can now close an hour later, at 9 p.m., but this has provided little comfort.

"Even with the emergency declaration lifted, the recovery of customers will probably be limited" as people continue to stay home, said Keiji Nuki, president of restaurant operator Kushikatsu Tanaka Holdings.

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