Japan wants to convert its ‘love hotels,’ which currently offer accommodation to amorous couples, into regular hotel bedrooms.
The move is in anticipation of a serious accommodation shortage in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympic Games in four years time. According to the hotel industry, there are over 10,000 such hotels in Japan but they only operate at about 40% of capacity during weekdays. The Japan Times reports that this fact alone makes them a huge resource for meeting the demands which will escalate as the Games draw nearer.
However, one part of the current legislation for such hotels will have to be looked at, because at present, people under 18 years of age are barred from going into these hotels. If these premises are used for family rental, the law will have to be amended. This appears likely as the authorities have already being active in making loans available to operators who seek to convert their current facilities into regular hotel bedrooms. The government plans to heighten awareness among those running such hotels so that more will convert their premises into regular hotels. As well as remodelling rooms for family use, the owners/operators will need to install facilities so that food can be served.
Tourism has become an increasingly important pillar in the country’s economic strategy. Nearly 20 million visitors arrived in Japan last year and the government is now aiming to double that target before Tokyo hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020. As part of the ongoing push to create tourist facilities, rules surrounding people offering rooms in private houses for foreign visitors have also been relaxed. Experts claim however, that even with these new measures in love hotels and private houses, Japan doesn’t have enough capacity to accommodate 40 million visitors within such a tight time-frame.