Asia Business Channel

Hotel shortage looms as Tokyo Olympics draws closer


If you’re planning to attend the Tokyo 2020 Olympics then you better book your tickets and hotel accommodations as soon as possible, or you might be forced to stay 1 to 1-1/2 hours away from Tokyo or, if you’re lucky, on a cruise ship anchored in Tokyo harbor.

Tokyo, one of the world’s most progressive cities in the world, but according to local officials, sports fans could be facing a hotel shortage as Tokyo 2020 approaches, despite construction efforts.

As of July 2019, the city is facing a shortage of 14,000+ hotel rooms that were expected to be constructed by the time the Tokyo games open. Olympic organizers are predicting that there will be more than 10 million people attending the games, but for many of these people, they could be forced to spend three to fours hours a day on trains and subways in order to get to the games.

A cruise ship is featured in a Tokyo Olympics accommodations ad

As one solution, Tokyo officials believe that cruise ships or ‘floating hotels’ could be a temporary fix that will help to alleviate the lack of hotel rooms.

Officials are considering whether they can open a new terminal in Tokyo Bay that would hold ships for accommodations.

Currently there are several ships that are being considered for the floating hotel scheme. They are the Sun Princess, a 1,011-cabin ship; and the MSC Lirica, a 992-cabin ship; and the Explorer Dream which has 928-cabins.

Although the floating hotels can provide a temporary fix, the ships mentioned above represent less than 3,000 rooms of the 14,000+ rooms that are needed for visitors. A report from Mizuho Research Institute, said: “It is unclear if ‘hotel ships’ in the Tokyo Bay will be able to cover the hotel rooms shortage.”

Minoru Kuge, head of JTB’s Tokyo 2020 Project Office, said: “We will have a shortage of hotels of a certain standard. Although we can’t disclose the actual numbers, we have received an excellent reaction from our customers.”




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