Rising Expectations for Tourism Leading up to 2020 Olympics
Japan is preparing itself for unprecedented numbers of inbound foreign visitors as the countdown to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics continues. Japanese companies and government agencies are taking these preparations seriously with over 3 billion USD funding plan set by the Tokyo Metropolitan government. Additionally, a ¥33.7 billion ($304 million USD) project was recently announced that aims at renovating and preparing Narita International Airport for the expected influx of visitors from abroad. As part of this project, from August 10th to the 13th 2020, the airport operator will open a temporary terminal to help handle the record setting 72,000 departures per day expected over that three-day period.
What Else Does Japan Have in Store for Us?
There are some pretty ambitious projects the Japanese government has prepared for the explosion of visitors from overseas. Japan’s plans can be summed up in three words, robots, railroads and royalty!
The Olympic and Paralympic Minister, Tamayo Marukawa, is overseeing the preparations for a railroad set to link Japan’s international airports to Tokyo Station. This will cut down travel times from the airport to the city by almost half from both Narita and Haneda airports.
“Japan’s plans can be summed up in three word, robots, railroads and royalty!”
Having too much trouble navigating the train system or want to get more information about the city? This will be no problem during the 2020 Olympics, all you will need to do is find one of the nearest multilingual translation robots. That’s right, hoping to rival the PyeongChang Olympics as the most high-tech Olympic event in history, Japan is going to bring us robots!
Finally, to treat their foreign visitors as royalty the Japanese government is looking into the use of cruise ships to host more visitors during this landmark event.
Japan Hopes to Maintain this Momentum after the Year 2020
The Japan National Tourism Organization has set their aim on increasing the number of inbound tourists to 40 million by 2020, an over 70% increase from the 29 million visitors Japan is currently seeing. The growth in tourism has been steady at 33% per year and hopes are high to sustain this growth after the Olympic event. As an early step in welcoming the growing number of foreign tourists, Japan has officially legalized Airbnb services, making the country a lot more accessible for budget travelers.
The city has also taken steps to create an environment that helps promote tourism and make the travelling process more visitor friendly by steadily increasing the number of English signs and signals throughout Tokyo.