Sport

Foreign Olympic tourists face a predicament

Impasse: Tourist boats in Tokyo may not find takers if foreign fans don’t make it because of travel and lodging issues.  

Thousands of fans planning to travel to the postponed Olympics face uncertainty over flight refunds and reimbursements from hotels and fear they may become victims of greed.

The International Olympic Committee has said that tickets for sporting events will be refunded if people cannot attend in 2021, but admitted that it could “not comment on hotel or flight bookings which were done through third parties“.

Also read: Olympics postponed; to be held latest by 2021 summer, says Japanese PM

Lisa Delpy Neirotti, a professor of sport management at the University of Washington had reserved 31 rooms for her students for 26 days at a cost of $90,000. She says that if she does not ask for the ticket reimbursement, hoping that her students can make the new dates from July 23 to August 8 next year, there is “no guarantee” that the hotel and plane reservations will be postponed accordingly.

“We are still waiting on both the hotel and the airline. They said it would take a while to let us know.

Need to step in

“I truly believe that if hoteliers and airlines start to be greedy and not work with Olympic fans or organisations, the government will need to step in, as it will not look good for Japan tourism, but for Japan as a country,” said Lisa.

In 2018, the Japanese ministry of tourism said that it was counting on 600,000 foreign spectators attending the Games, providing a significant economic windfall.

But many of those prospective visitors remain at an impasse, three weeks after the postponement was announced.

Hoteliers affected

The delay will also affect the Japanese hotel industry, which had already seen hotel bookings fall in March compared to last year.

An official with the Tokyo organising committee said the issue surrounding hotel reservations was “under consideration”.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 11:59:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/foreign-olympic-tourists-face-a-predicament/article31319354.ece

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