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Travel & Leisure

Tourists return to Japan, but where are the workers?

Lodging industry cuts capacity after losing 20% of staff during pandemic

Tourists from the Philippines stroll through Tokyo's Harajuku district. (Photo by Mayumi Tsumita)

TOKYO -- Japanese airports and hotels are scrambling to handle the influx of tourists streaming across reopened borders, as staffs that withered to skeletal levels during the pandemic have not rebounded to match the rise in customers.

All Nippon Airways has lost 20% of its ground personnel at Tokyo's Haneda Airport due to staff departures and a hiring freeze. Now on the busiest days, the airline deploys about 100 cabin assistants to help on the ground by guiding passengers through the airport.

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