No spectator Olympics rocks Tokyo hotels

7

Messengers, receptionists, chefs and concierges: hotel staff at Japan will probably have more time to watch the Olympics than expected.

Want to receive updates from the Tokyo Olympics? Subscribe to the Casual newsletter

The fourth Covid-19’s state of emergency in Tokyo and the decision to hold major athletics events without an audience generated a wave of hotel room cancellations. This new setback puts even more pressure on the hotel industry, which has staked heavily on the Olympic Games as a springboard to Japan’s economic goal of attracting 40 million foreign visitors a year.

While hotel chains with large cash reserves can adjust for the long term and wait for better days after Covid, for smaller operators, the Olympic dream shaken by the pandemic is already testing the commercial resilience of companies amid rising orders of judicial reorganization.

“We had high hopes and expectations for the Olympics,” said Makiko Furusato, who runs a small Japanese ryokan-style hotel a 15-minute drive from four major gaming centers. “We opened in October 2019 and were immediately hit by the pandemic. Now this, just when we expected some money to come in.”