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Horwath HTL study after east Japan earthquake

Full service hotels and resorts across Japan`s major cities experienced a significant drop

Horwath HTL Japan has released some key findings on the Japan hotel market environment after the East Japan Earthquake and Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster. The 22-page document reports on some of the key performance indicators of hotels in Japan’s major cities, as well as the translation of the article titled “East Japan Earthquake – What did hoteliers do at the critical moment?” featured on the March and April volumes of Ohta Publications’ Weekly Hotel and Restaurant.

According to Horwath HTL, full service hotels and resorts across Japan’s major cities, such as Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya and Kyoto, experienced a significant drop in Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) in the month of March 2011. Hotel occupancy in Tokyo, for instance, fell by up to 30 percentage points year-on-year. On the other hand, there has been minimal impact on average room rates.

Prior to the disaster, however, hotels in Japan’s major cities were experiencing stronger occupancy levels in February year-to-date than the same period in 2010; thus convincing hoteliers of a more optimistic 2011. Unlike the recession in 2009 triggered by the “Lehman Shock”, hoteliers report that the Japan Disaster has affected all business segments, from corporate to leisure, individual travellers to groups. During the economic downturn in 2009, corporate travel decreased drastically. The hotel market responded by discounting room rates in order to stimulate an increase in leisure travel. As a result, the negative impact on hotel occupancy was mitigated. Due to the nature of the Japan Disaster, however, this rate strategy is not believed to be effective.

According to statistics released by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), overseas tourist arrivals to Japan in March 2011 decreased dramatically by 50.3% year-on-year. However, hoteliers report strong domestic travel during Golden Week, a weeklong national holiday in the first week of May, thus providing much desired encouragement to the hotel industry.

Horwath HTL added that the impact of the East Japan Earthquake and the corresponding Fukushima Nuclear Power Point is expected to be short term, and that recovery should be expected by 2012. In addition, the disaster has raised awareness among local Japanese of issues surrounding natural disasters and nuclear power, which will likely result in stronger emphasis on eco-tourism in the Japanese hospitality industry in the future.