JAPAN | Over 680,000 hotel bookings canceled

Posted on July 30, 2011

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JAPAN | YOMIURI SHIMBUN | 30 July 2011

FUKUSHIMA–Over 680,000 guests canceled reservations at inns and hotels in Fukushima Prefecture through the end of June due to the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

These cancellations resulted in losses of 7.46 billion yen to 470 facilities, prefectural officials reported at a meeting of the All Nippon Travel Agents Association on Tuesday.

The number of school trips to the prefecture are expected to drop to 1 percent to 5 percent of the usual number, the officials added.

The Fukushima prefectural association of inns and hotels surveyed its 610 members to ascertain the status of room reservations through June 30 following the March 11 nuclear incident.

Of those surveyed, 470 responded and reported that the reservations of about 687,000 guests were canceled during the period.

The actual number of cancellations is believed to be much higher because there are 1,700 nonmember inns and hotels in the prefecture.

Educational outings such as field trips and camps account for about 700,000 or 10 percent of the annual number of visitors that stay in the prefecture.

However, their numbers dropped significantly across the prefecture during the period to about 3,500 to 5,000, or 1 percent to 5 percent of visitors in past years.

The prefectural officials reported at the meeting that some inns have already gone out of business.

As for prefectural tourism industry losses caused by misinformation, the Dispute Reconciliation Committee for Nuclear Damage Compensation has already decided that inn and hotel cancellations should be compensated. How this compensation will be calculated has not yet been worked out.

Koki Yaginuma, president of Matsuriya Yuzaemon inn at the Iizaka hot spring resort in Fukushima said the resort took in about 3,000 disaster victims after the March 11 disaster.

“But, only 1,300 of them remain,” Yaginuma, 39, said. “There are rumors that we’re not accepting ordinary guests and the number of visitors [to the hot spring resort] has been declining.”

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