Japanese hotels have started to pay more attention to foreign tourists, from creating multilingual websites to offering larger beds. They are preparing step by step for the 2020 Olympics, when, for several weeks, Tokyo will become one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world.
Shinzo Abe asked earlier this year to Japan to attract around 10 million foreign tourists and the goal was already 60 percent achieved at the end of July. The measures to encourage foreign tourism included relaxed visa restrictions for some Southeast Asian countries, while the yen’s plunge against major currencies remained likely one of the largest factors.
The hotels are also changing their language rules: they need to move on from Japanese-only websites and even Japanese-English sites, according to the international press.
“About 10 years ago, there was a sense among hotels that they did not need to depend on foreign guests, but now they have learned that foreign visitors are also reliable on weekdays when the number of Japanese guests might be low,” Osamu Urasawa, who runs O.H. Co., a company offering website design and translation services mainly to hotels, said.
Other hotels are trying to improve their interiors, by making them more attractive to foreign guests. The Prince Sakura Tower Tokyo, for example, closed for a makeover in early July. It reopened Saturday with a spruced up look, wireless internet, 134 rooms with king-sized beds (up from 82) and its first-ever Western restaurant.
The hotel occupancy rate in Tokyo’s major locations was 84 percent in July, the highest for the month since 2005, according to a survey by the Nikkei.