Open letter from the inbound travel industry in Japan

____

Japanese |

Open letter from the inbound travel industry in Japan

This letter has been initiated by The Hospitality Industry Club of Japan (HICJ). We are a club of over 50 SME and individual Members of the inbound industry, including travel agencies, hotels, transportation companies, services and activity providers. The inbound travel industry has been severely hit by the crisis, faster and more intensively than any other industry in Japan as borders have remained closed to foreign visitors since April 2020. The large majority of our Members declared sales drop of over 70% in comparison to pre-COVID period. In this difficult context, more and more local actors of the inbound travel industry are going bankrupt or shutting down permanently. While companies related to inbound travel are dealing with overseas visitors, our industry remains a source of local employment, bringing income to thousands of Japanese families while preserving the Japanese culture and promoting the country overseas. We recognise the government’s efforts to block the surge in COVID-19 cases across the country and intention to support the local economy. Yet, we believe there is more that can be done to help our shrinking industry. Please allow us to make specific policy recommendations: 1. Increase vaccination rollout and include hospitality staff in priority public After the medical community, hospitality actors have not hesitated to face infected patients, working at self-quarantine hotels and taking important risks to protect us all. Such people, together with airline pilots, flight attentants and airport staff have continuously worked on the front line and under high risk and to support our society. Other examples across the world have proven that, while keeping vulnerable populations ahead, giving vaccination priority to hospitality staff as well is a great armour against future cases surge. It also acts as an additional security when borders reopen, giving a sense of security to the Japanese population and foreign visitors. 2. Set a reopening calendar allowing quarantine-free travel for vaccinated people As more countries have a large portion of their population vaccinated, those are reopening their borders to overseas visitors, keeping pre-departure and/or arrival tests for additional layers of security. As an example, Europe which faced high level of COVID-19 community spread in comparison to Japan, is getting the virus under control thanks to its high percentage of vaccinated population. As a result, European countries are now re-opening their borders to fully vaccinated overseas visitors with vaccination passports. By not having a clear reopening calendar and taking similar actions in timely manner, we are putting Japan behind and lacking the opportunity to save hundreds of struggling companies with thousands of Japanese families in line. 3. Increase collaboration with actors of the inbound tourism industry We believe that the government can work hands in hands with inbound travel actors to ensure the safety of travellers and residents. For example, travel companies could make sure foreign visitors fully understand the specific rules related to COVID-19 prevention in Japan, and keep track of clients visits and places of stay to quickly share their whereabouts if necessary. 4. Directly support local actors of the inbound tourism industry We commend efforts to deploy the Go To Campaign to support the tourism industry across the country. Yet, this campaign has been focusing on the domestic market, implying heavy logistics that only large companies could handle and leaving local inbound tourism actors behind. Since the beginning of the crisis, the inbound industry had no targeted support similar to what has been done for other industries, such as for restaurants and bars. Though, our survey showed that over 75% of our Members are in a critical financial situation and most of us will not survive through 2022 in the current situation, leaving only larger mass travel companies as options for future travellers. After over a year into this difficult crisis, the local inbound travel industry is in deep need of more visibility to survive. When the time is right, we look forward to welcoming again visitors from all over the world with our secular Omotenashi. Once again, thank you for considering our suggestions. Your Sincerely,

Signatories to this letter (as of 17th June 2021):

HICJ MEMBERS

  • Ami Kyoto Kimiko Yamamoto, Representative
  • Boutique Japan Andres Zuleta, Director
  • BUFFALO TOURS JAPAN (DISCOVA) Patrick Loyer, Sales Manager
  • CHABITO
  • Destination Asia Japan Peter Cools, Representative Director
  • Essential Japan Travel Takashi Yamada, Representative
  • Explore the Heart of Japan Nicholas Klar, Owner
  • gLocal Yoshitaka Kawanishi, Representative
  • Hike Hakone Hachiri Anthony Everitt, Director
  • HITOTOKI Alex Debs, President
  • ITO RYOKAN Chikako Maeyama, Landlady
  • Japan Localized Dai Miyamoto, CEO
  • JAPAN PRIVATE TOUR Jack Charig
  • Lotus Cycle Saori Koda
  • Matsue-Works Yasuhide Kominami, Representative
  • MURATA TAXI
  • Nana Toshihiko Nishiyama, Representative
  • Nextaroma Lionel Dersot, Manager
  • NINE
  • Oku Japan
  • Rediscover Japan Jeff Aasgaard, President
  • TABITTO Travel Kagoshima Yoshie Kakimoto
  • THE LUXURY FLEET Afra Rahman
  • Tokyo Way Carl Kay
  • Windows to Japan Avi Lugasi, Owner and CEO
  • Guide Masako Takahashi
  • Guide Ryoei Aoki
  • Guide Midori Suzaki
  • Guide Satoko Saito

OTHER BUSINESS LEADERS

  • Air Serve Naofumi Suzuki, Section Chief
  • Bute Yoichi Murata, Representative Director
  • F-Ness Toru Chiba, Head of New Business Development
  • F-Ness Corporation Naoki Okada, CEO
  • F-Ness Gallant Tour Kenichi Hiroi, Representative
  • Foresight Marketing Shigeyoshi Noto, CEO
  • Go Vacation Toshiya Tatami, Director
  • Japan Tour Service Shin Yamada, CEO
  • Kanazawa Tours Mike Keenan, Director
  • Keikaku Japan Sebastien Terrier, Representative Director
  • Local Travel Partners Hirokane Ishikaki, Representative
  • Tabino Recipe Naoyuki Tamura, Executive Officer & Tokyo Branch Manager

____

  • Ami Kyoto Kimiko Yamamoto, Representative
  • Boutique Japan Andres Zuleta, Director
  • BUFFALO TOURS JAPAN (DISCOVA) Patrick Loyer, Sales Manager
  • CHABITO
  • Destination Asia Japan Peter Cools, Representative Director
  • Essential Japan Travel Takashi Yamada, Representative
  • Explore the Heart of Japan Nicholas Klar, Owner
  • gLocal Yoshitaka Kawanishi, Representative
  • Hike Hakone Hachiri Anthony Everitt, Director
  • HITOTOKI Alex Debs, President
  • ITO RYOKAN Chikako Maeyama, Landlady
  • Japan Localized Dai Miyamoto, CEO
  • JAPAN PRIVATE TOUR Jack Charig
  • Lotus Cycle Saori Koda
  • Matsue-Works Yasuhide Kominami, Representative
  • MURATA TAXI
  • Nana Toshihiko Nishiyama, Representative
  • Nextaroma Lionel Dersot, Manager
  • NINE
  • Oku Japan
  • Rediscover Japan Jeff Aasgaard, President
  • TABITTO Travel Kagoshima Yoshie Kakimoto
  • THE LUXURY FLEET Afra Rahman
  • Tokyo Way Carl Kay
  • Windows to Japan Avi Lugasi, Owner and CEO
  • Guide Masako Takahashi
  • Guide Ryoei Aoki
  • Guide Midori Suzaki
  • Guide Satoko Saito
  • Air Serve Naofumi Suzuki, Section Chief
  • Bute Yoichi Murata, Representative Director
  • F-Ness Toru Chiba, Head of New Business Development
  • F-Ness Corporation Naoki Okada, CEO
  • F-Ness Gallant Tour Kenichi Hiroi, Representative
  • Foresight Marketing Shigeyoshi Noto, CEO
  • Go Vacation Toshiya Tatami, Director
  • Japan Tour Service Shin Yamada, CEO
  • Kanazawa Tours Mike Keenan, Director
  • Keikaku Japan Sebastien Terrier, Representative Director
  • Local Travel Partners Hirokane Ishikaki, Representative
  • Tabino Recipe Naoyuki Tamura, Executive Officer & Tokyo Branch Manager