Hokkaido’s tourism industry showing signs of recovery after quake
SAPPORO — A large number of tourists flocked to Hokkaido from various parts of the country on Autumnal Equinox Day on Sunday.
Although the effects of the Hokkaido earthquake, which registered a maximum of 7 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale, still remain, the tourism industry in Hokkaido is showing signs of recovery, as operations of some facilities have returned to normal levels.
On Sunday in Sapporo Odori Park, Sapporo Autumn Fest 2018 attracted a large number of people. The period of the food event has been shortened by eight days due to the earthquake and power outages. According to the organizing committee, the number of visitors to the event on Sunday was about 10 percent higher than a week before.
A nursing care worker, 39, came from Settsu, Osaka Prefecture, for an idol group’s concert in Sapporo on Sunday.
“I couldn’t make up my mind about whether I should go until the last minute because I was worried about aftershocks. But I didn’t feel any impact of the earthquake here,” she said with a smile.
Every year, about 10,000 people visit Mt. Hakodate Ropeway a day. During the previous three-day weekend on Sept. 15-17, the number of visitors was about 60 percent of usual numbers. But on Sunday, visitors came one after another in the morning, and there was a 40-minute wait at night to see the evening view of Hakodate.
Niseko Northern Resort An’nupuri, a hotel in Niseko, Hokkaido, suffered cancellations right after the earthquake, but the number of guests had recovered to 94 percent of recent years’ occupancy figures on Saturday.
New Chitose Airport closed due to the earthquake which took place in the early hours of Sept. 6. Domestic and international flights resumed Sept. 7 and Sept. 8, respectively. According to airline companies, the boarding rate for domestic flights was about 60 percent immediately after the resumption. But the reservation rate for the three-day-weekend period from Saturday reached 80 percent to 90 percent.
However, damage to the tourism industry as a whole across Hokkaido caused by the spread of inaccurate information is still serious. The prefectural government and other entities concerned will update information in order to limit misunderstanding.
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