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A Large Number of Japanese Investors Withdraw from the Homestay Industry

  • Larry Mello
  • 19 Oct
A Large Number of Japanese Investors Withdraw from the Homestay Industry

According to Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan in March of this year dropped by 93% compared with the same period last year, becoming the lowest level in the past 31 years (since 1989). At the same time, the Tokyo Olympics was postponed due to the impact of the new coronavirus, and a large number of homestay orders were canceled. The sales volume of Japanese homestay listings has also increased to six times within half a year, and a large number of investors have withdrawn from the homestay industry.

On April 15, the Japan Tourism Agency (JNTO) released the latest data on foreign tourists visiting Japan, showing that the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan in March this year was 194,000, a decrease of 93% from the same period last year. This is the first time in the 31 years since 1989 that the number of tourists visiting Japan has fallen below 200,000. It is also the largest single-month decline record since the Great East Japan Earthquake in 1964.

The number of foreign tourists visiting Japan in March this year was 194,000, a decrease of 93% from the same period last year. The Japan Tourism Agency also released the "Accommodation Travel Statistics Survey" on March 31. According to data, the total number of foreigners staying in Japan in February this year was 4.92 million, a decrease of 40.4% from the same period last year. Nihon Keizai Shimbun believes that this number will drop further as the epidemic progresses after March. Among them, the homestay industry was greatly affected, and many people were forced to withdraw from the homestay industry.

On the Japanese website TRANBI, which specializes in publishing transfer information, it can be seen that the number of transfers announced in March 2020 is more than 40, which is 6 times that of last October. The website also summarizes various reasons for the transfer of homestays, such as "sold to ensure cash due to the impact of the new crown", "postponement of the Olympic Games" and so on. TRANBI said that due to the impact of the epidemic, the number of guests at homestays has dropped sharply. Individuals who originally used homestay management as a sideline and individuals with multiple listings began to adjust their business.

As of April 2020, the number of withdrawals from the Japanese homestay business was approximately 4,100. The transferred houses are mainly located in Tokyo, Osaka and Hakata. The biggest impact is the Kansai region, which is highly dependent on tourists visiting Japan.

In Osaka, an operator who owns multiple homestays told Nikkei. "Since late January, there have been continuous order cancellations. Now there are basically zero appointments." A construction company in Kansai originally planned to provide one of its buildings to the hotel operator and commission it to operate it. However, seeing the sudden decrease in tourists visiting Japan, I decided to give up entering the homestay field.

As of April 2020, the number of withdrawals from the homestay business was approximately 4,100. The transferred houses are mainly located in Tokyo, Osaka and Hakata. Data Map It is understood that in 2018, after Japan implemented the "Residential Accommodation Business Law" (also known as the "New Homestay Law"), a large number of homestay practitioners appeared. The number of applications for homestay permits soared, surpassing 20,000, which became the topic of the year.

However, in September 2019, Japan-South Korea relations deteriorated, and the number of Korean tourists plummeted. Japan's tourism industry has been affected to some extent. But it hasn't waited until the recovery, the outbreak of the new coronavirus epidemic once again pushed the tourism industry to the bottom.

"This year is like a roller coaster ride. This month I decided to quit the homestay business." An operator who bought dozens of apartments in Fukuoka shouted loudly. "There are still some orders in March from graduate students, but it will be more difficult from April." Toshio Oue, representative director of the Japan Minbo Association, pointed out, "Compared with hotels, the proportion of tourists visiting Japan staying in guest houses is higher. "However, affected by the expansion of the epidemic, it is difficult to expect a rapid recovery of tourists visiting Japan in the short term. At present, the number of reservations for many homestays is zero.

According to Professor Katsuhiro Miyamoto of Kansai University, the economic loss of the one-year postponement of the Tokyo Olympics is 640.8 billion yen, which does not include the reduction in tourists and consumption due to the new crown epidemic. The next negative impact will be further expanded.

However, some people have smelled business opportunities from the "homestay retreat."

A company called "MaintreeJapan" recently launched a service called "Re:Partner" to help landlords who decide to quit the homestay industry to rebuild homestays into private residences. The company wrote in its introduction: "Many homestays, 70% of the customers are foreigners. However, due to the impact of the new coronavirus epidemic, the number of foreigners visiting Japan has dropped sharply. Some owners have decided to withdraw from the homestay business. The best solution can flexibly support homestay owners and operating companies who want to quit from purchasing furniture, fitting out, and moving."


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