ALL eyes are on Japan as its major cities enter a state of emergency, a couple of months before the Olympics.
We catch up with co-founder of WiT Japan & North Asia, Kei Shibata, co-founder & CEO, LINE Travel jp & Trip101, for an update from Japan.
'Workation' and 'bleisure' could potentially bring the travel demand up to the next level as many Japanese are embracing working-from-home.: Kei Shibata
Q: What is the current situation re-domestic travel in your country?
We are still seeing quite limited recovery in domestic travel in Japan since the big cities like Tokyo had been in the state of emergency until last month and some big cities like Osaka are now getting into the fourth wave of virus spread driven by the new strains. Data from our LINE Travel jp shows that domestic travel demand is still far below 50% of pre-pandemic level.
Q: What is the outlook on vaccinations and how will those play a role in opening borders?
Unfortunately, vaccine rollout in Japan is running behind and we are not being able to be optimistic with this issue in the short run. We maintain our hope of picking up the speed towards the Tokyo Olympics.
As we are able to see a strong recovery in the US and UK markets triggered by the successful vaccine rollout through our Trip101’s business performance, I am very positive that vaccinations should also play a tremendous role in Japan and other Asian markets as well going forward.
Once that happens, it should first stimulate the domestic demand in large scale and then help open the borders for resuming both inbound and outbound travels.
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