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Economy

Japan's tourism sector sees 1-2 years for rebound: Nikkei survey

Hotels, transport services and retailers see huge customer drop on coronavirus

Few people were seen on the streets of popular tourist spot Asakusa on May 26, one day after the state of emergency was lifted in Tokyo. (Photo by Kento Awashima) 

TOKYO -- Japan's coronavirus-hit tourism sector expects a rebound to take between one to two years after being hit by huge customer losses, a Nikkei survey shows.

Close to 60% of tourist businesses in Japan are experiencing a fall of more than 80% in their number of customers amid the coronavirus, according to the results of the survey conducted at the end of May.

Nikkei got answers from 103 tourist-related companies including hotels, transportation services, and other facilities.

It found that more than half of the businesses are experiencing a sharp fall in the number of tourists, with an expectation that it will take one to two years until demand bounces back again.

The ongoing pandemic has affected the movement of people domestically, but also restrictions on the entry of foreign citizens have led to a huge drop in inbound tourists, damaging related businesses.

When asked about the number of customers, 33% of businesses said they saw a 90% decrease compared to the same period a year ago while 16% said they have experienced an 80% drop. 11% of the businesses answered that they have had zero visitors.

The survey also showed that some businesses have been forced to close for a lengthy time as the coronavirus hinders travel and consumption. Even operating hotels in tourist sites are seeing about an 80% to 90% drop in customers.

Many businesses expressed a cautious future outlook for when demand will start to pick up.

When asked about when they think tourist demand will recover to pre-coronavirus levels, only 3% of businesses answered "six-months later." The figure was 18% for both "a year later" and "a year and a half later," while 15% of businesses responded, "two years later." A total of 34% said they were uncertain.

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