I was recently thinking about why a 2021 “blossom Games” would be bad for Japan after speculation the Olympics could be held next spring due to the coronavirus.
Thankfully, they have gone with the summer dates. Ultimately though, it is great the new dates are confirmed. It means we can start planning for our customers, trade and direct, as soon as more details come in, and hopefully rebook those planning to travel to Japan during the Games.
As a Japan travel specialist in its 20th year of business, we had decent room allocation with a number of hotels in and around Tokyo during the Games. Of course, we now need to discuss those arrangements again.
InsideJapan is in no way an official partner of the Olympics or Paralympics, but as a Japan specialist, we still have hundreds of customer with their own tickets who want to make the most out of their time in Japan and experience the country and culture we know and love.
Confirming the new dates so soon after the postponement announcement is definitely a good thing – we can begin planning with our customers again soon.
Of course, we are still in the middle of cancelling and rebooking trips with customers who were already booked to travel to Japan during the spring and cherry blossom peak travel period.
So far, we have rebooked about 60% of customers, with most choosing the same period in 2021. If the organisers had decided on a “blossom Games”, it would have been very bad for Japan’s travel industry.
We hope people who had planned to travel to Japan for the Games will still want to experience the Games and Japan. A summer Games will provide a much-needed boost for Japan after a 2020 written off by coronavirus.
Japan, and Tokyo in particular, have been looking forward to the Games since its successful bid in 2013. The domestic aim was to put Japan back in the spotlight and show it off to the world as it did with the 1964 Olympics after the post-war rebuild and its burgeoning reputation as a technological leader.
There is no doubt Japan will shine when the Olympics does go ahead as it did with the last year’s Rugby World Cup. It will once again shine a light on the country’s innovation, as well as its beauty, rich culture and the fabulous people that make of Japan the unique place it is.
We really believe 2021 is going to be a good year.
This year has obviously been tough so far. “Unprecedented” is a word that has been used a lot, but is completely apt. As a Japan specialist, InsideJapan Tours and all our partners on the ground have been going through the coronavirus crisis a little longer than the rest of the travel industry.
And although we have come through other crises such as the 2011 Tohoku tsunami, this has impacted the travel industry as a whole.
The majority of customers we have worked with are understanding of the situation and although not exactly “happy”, they all know this is no fault of ours or the travel industry – and it seems many want to have a trip to look forward to once this crisis settles down.
There is no doubt coronavirus is making it hard for all those involved in travel and beyond, but the Inside Travel Group is grateful for the support and patience of trade partners and customers with the majority of those with spring bookings placing trust in us and rebooking for 2021.
The postponement of the Olympics will ensure a busy summer for Japan, and we have no doubt visitors during the Games will come away with their expectations exceeded – while a huge global TV audience will be left intrigued and wanting more Japan.
Yes, 2020 will dent the travel industry and tourism growth in Japan, but 2021 will be the year of recovery – people will remember why it is not just Japan, but travel in general, that is so special.