Investigation contents

Interview

To understand the current situation of tourism more deeply, we interviewed Ms. Sanae Hara, who belonged to Hankyu Travel International Company on 15 July 2020 and Mr. Akira Horimoto, who was the chairman of Lake Suwa Hot Spring Ryokan Cooperative on 22 July 2020.
The interview with Mr.Akira Horimoto, Lake Suwa Hot Spring Ryokan Cooperative click here for ditail.

Interview with Ms.Sanae Hara, Hankyu Travel International Company

原奈美恵様 添乗員の方の様子
Ms. Sanae Hara(likeness)、the tour conductor
Q

When did you realize the impact of COVID-19?

A

Since the early part of February. However, the great impact came in March.

Q

What's the present situation (July) of employment?

A

Regular employees' employment is protected, but there is a pay cut. Temporary workaers are dismissed, so called "Haken-giri."

Q

Are there any efforts that were carried out in COVID-19 pandemic?

A

First, we offered online English lessons. Although it worked to some extant, because of its low unit price, we could only earn less than 10% of our previous sales.

Second, we offered a service that customers could feel like they joined an oversea training program. We made this service before, but we introduced its full-scale project.

Third, there is also a long-term English lessons tour for senior citizens. We made it because younger people had higher risks.

Q

Do you have any ideas about the future solutions?

A

We have high hopes Go To Campaign. We expect that this campaign will increase the number of tourists and they will use more money because of subsidies.

Also, we are thinking about expanding our domestic one-day bus tours and attracting oversea customers to domestic tours.

Q

Do you have any pieces of advice on planning tours?

A

Use SNS (for advertisement)

②If you want to plan earlier, domestic tours are better

③Make the plan long-term one

④Be conscious of latest trend

⑤That's one way to make the plan for enthusiasts to attract repear visitors.

These five things are important.

Interview with Mr.Akira Horimoto, the chaiman of the Lake Suwa Hot Spring Ryokan Cooperative

堀元彰様 旅館の中の様子
Mr. Akira Horimoto(likeness)、the ryokan
Q

When did you realize the impact of COVID-19?

A

About March. Although there were still many foreign visitors in January and February, the number of customers decreased by about 40% in March.

Q

What's the current situation (July) of ryokan (Japanese-style hotel)?

A

Almost all hotels are in financial difficulties.

Hotels in severe financial situations have to borrow money from banks. Besides, they cannot close their hotels because they have to pay back money. The important thing is whether hotels have enough money to continue their own business.

Q

What are you doing now?

A

A campaign for people living near Nagano Prefecture is now carried out by the local government. However it will cause competition between sightseeing spots in Nagano Prefecture for customers so the Suwa area has to differentiate by Lake Suwa (water sports) from other areas. Besides this campaign is tentatiive measures and we believe it cannot solve problems fundamentally.

Q

Are there any concrete troubles or serious problems?

A

Actually, larger hotels got more serious damages. It is because large hotels depend on group tourists and it is necessary for them to do efforts to prevent three Cs (closed spaces, crowded places, and conversations in close proximity).

We are struggling to deal with three Cs. Especially, places where people eat food and large public buths need efforts to prevent three Cs. To prevent infection, we decrease the number of people who can go to the same places but this solution forced us to decrease the number of customers. It is a negative chain reaction.

For example, we try to make time lag when people eat at a banquet hall. However it costs a lot because more and more employees are necessary.

Also, in order to avoid three Cs, we have to prepare other buses. It also costs a lot.

The number of group tourists decreased by 97%. (only 3% came)

Q

Do you have any requests or future prospects?

A

Although we think this situation will continue for a while, we have a good impression of Go To Travel Campaign. However, if the government carries out the campaign, subsidies are also necessary.

Conclusion

Tourism is supported by various local industries such as food, transportation, and cleaning.
→When tourism industry is bad hit, other industries also have troubles.

→It is important for governments to support tourism (by giving subsidies) all over the region.