September 14, 2018
Sapporo- Some 500,000 people are believed to have canceled reservations for hotels and "ryokan" Japanese-style inns in Hokkaido after a powerful earthquake hit the northernmost Japan prefecture last week, it was learned Friday.
The cancellations are estimated to be worth some 10 billion yen, indicating that the 6.7-magnite quake has taken a toll on the entire tourism industry in Hokkaido, one of the four major islands in Japan, informed sources said.
According to the sources, Koji Hamano, Hokkaido branch head of the Japan Ryokan & Hotel Association, disclosed the cancelation estimate at a meeting with Fumio Kishida, policy chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, at the Hokkaido government office in Sapporo on Thursday.
Hamano was quoted as telling the meeting that he did not imagine such a substantial loss to the local tourism industry as the quake caused physical damage only in limited areas.
Yoshihiro Sekihachi, chairman of the Hokkaido Tourism Organization, who also attended the meeting, voiced concerns over the possibility of the disaster's adverse effects continuing into the autumn and winter tourist seasons, the sources said. Jiji Press
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