Published on : Friday, March 24, 2017
In Japan, home-sharing services like Airbnb are illegal, except for Osaka and Ota Ward of Tokyo. However, prior to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, a move is now being considered for changing the law, as such services could provide a much needed support to the country’s growing tourism sector. The Japanese cabinet authorized a proposed bill to legalize home sharing on March 10, but the outlook for parliamentary approval is not yet clear. As drafted, the bill would allow residential rentals nationally for up to 180 days per year.
There is already a shortage of hotel beds due to increased tourist flows since 2013. By 2020, Japan aims to attract 40 million visitors annually. With 846,300 hotel rooms, their distribution doesn’t fit current needs. Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto together account for just 21% of the total room record. The next-largest concentrations are in Nagano, Hokkaido, Shizuoka and Okinawa with a combined 18% of rooms. Last year, hotel occupancy reached 82% in Tokyo and Osaka. U.S.-based Airbnb offers bookings at around 48,000 homes in Japan. Occupancy rates for these are among the highest globally, at around 70%. The company hosted around 3.7 million visitors in Japan, nearly tripled the volume for 2015.
In the next three years, hoteliers in Osaka and Tokyo are expanding room list by at least 20%. The recent approval of casino gambling in Japan will also increase room supply, but the new incorporated resorts are not expected to open until 2022.