NewsBot QuickShot: Massive Vacation Cancellations in Fukushima

As if the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown weren’t enough, the cities and towns in Fukushima Prefecture have also had to deal with a huge economic loss due to the cancellation of hotel bookings in the region. According to a recent report given to the All Nippon Travel Agents Association (ANTAA) by Fukushima prefectural officials, as of June 30th, over 680,000 reservations at hotels and inns in the Fukushima area have been cancelled, totaling a loss of over ¥7.46 billion, or roughly $97 million. Of course, the number of actual cancellations is believed to be much higher, since only 470 of the 610 lodging houses registered with the ANTAA reported their booking statistics. In addition, there are roughly 1,700 hotels, inns and ryokans in Fukushima Prefecture which are not ANTAA members and were therefore not approached for the booking survey. Although hotel bookings make up the lion’s share of the leisure and tourism dollars spent in the Fukushima area, school outings and field trips account for about 700,000 visitors to the prefecture annually, about 10 percent of the visitor total. So far this year, the number of education-related visitors has dropped to between one and five percent of the typical annual total. Because of this scenario, some hotels and inns have already gone out of business. This is not great news for the region, which has been bashed and hit hard for reasons mentioned above. Keep your fingers crossed for Fukushima, and consider planning a visit to a safe part of the prefecture the next time you’re in Japan. (Daily Yomiuri – Hotel Booking Disaster in Fukushima)