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Hotel pricing in Tokyo heats up ahead of 2020 Olympics and Paralympics

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With the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics taking place in the summer of 2020, many accommodation facilities in the Japanese capital have already been raising their room rates by as much as four times the usual levels.

Tokyo

WITH the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics taking place in the summer of 2020, many accommodation facilities in the Japanese capital have already been raising their room rates by as much as four times the usual levels.

As a rush of hotel construction continues in central Tokyo, the Games' organising committee is cancelling some of the rooms it temporarily reserved. Such moves will cause accommodation fees to fluctuate, likely creating a headache for prospective spectators who live far away.

"I'm thinking of going home, without staying the night, after watching the competition," said a 26-year-old female university employee from Osaka Prefecture, who secured tickets to an athletics event at the new National Stadium in Shinjuku Ward.

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She plans to invite her parents, who live in Nagano Prefecture. She checked accommodation fees via the Internet at central Tokyo business hotels and found that twin room rates were more than 100,000 yen (S$1,300) per night.

"I paid about 140,000 yen for the tickets. I can't afford any more," she said.

The price hikes began around May this year, when applications began to be accepted for the first lottery for tickets.

A hotel in Minato Ward that usually offers rooms for about 20,000 yen per night raised its rates to about 40,000 yen, while a capsule hotel in Shinjuku Ward is charging about four times the usual price. An inn in Chuo Ward has about doubled its prices.

Some of the hotels that have raised their rates are fully booked, or have more than half of their rooms reserved.

According to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, there were about 170,000 guest rooms at hotels and inns in Tokyo as of the end of March. According to a June survey by the Hoteres weekly magazine on hotels and restaurants, more than 150 hotels are expected to open in Tokyo by next year, with more than 20,000 rooms expected to increase.

About 10 million people are expected to visit for the Games next year, from within Japan and abroad.

The organising committee has temporarily reserved a total of about 46,000 rooms at more than 300 mainly first-class hotels in Tokyo for the International Olympic Committee and other sports organisations from various countries - resulting in heightened concerns over a lack of accommodations.

Yet the organising committee in September began cancelling reservations for some of the rooms.

"We have been asking sports organisations and others about the number of people coming. We will cancel rooms as soon as we know if they're unneeded," an official in charge said.

Demand for accommodations in Tokyo could decline in the wake of the decision to change the venue from Tokyo to Sapporo for the marathon, a highlight of the Games, and racewalking, in which Japanese athletes are aiming to win medals.

Meanwhile, hotels in Sapporo have been receiving many inquiries and reservations. Many facilities in Tokyo have not started accepting room reservations due to pricing difficulties. It is unclear if the price hikes will continue.

The Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, has renovated all its rooms in preparation for the Olympics, with some decorated with images of Mount Fuji aimed at foreign guests. However, it has no plan to charge higher prices than usual.

"The Games is a chance to let people at home and abroad know about our hotel. To encourage people to visit us again, we will make efforts to improve our services without seeking temporary benefits," said the hotel's general manager Yoshiaki Miyajima. WP