Rising Prices of Japan’s JR Pass for Foreign Tourists Raises Concerns

Rising Prices of Japan’s JR Pass for Foreign Tourists Raises Concerns

Rail passes sold by Japan Railways for foreign touristsJR PASS will be upgraded to the national version starting from October 1selling price, an increase of more than 60%. The cheapest general ticket, a seven-day ticket, will increase from 29,650 yen to 50,000 yen. At the current exchange rate, it is about NT$4,400 more expensive.

Japanese economyAccording to news reports, JR Group will significantly increase the price of the national version of Japan’s JRPASS starting from October 1.carDepending on the level, JR PASS for ordinary tickets will increase by 49 to 69%, while for green carriage tickets with more luxurious equipment, the increase will be from 56 to 77%. However, these have nothing to do with ordinary Japanese people. The price increases are only targeted at foreign tourists who purchase the “Nationwide All-You-Can-Eat” JR PASS.

The report pointed out that the current price of the 7-day ticket for the national version of JR PASS is roughly the same as the Shinkansen ticket purchased by ordinary Japanese people to and from Tokyo and Osaka. Although JR said it wanted to “expand the service target,” it has long made many people aware of this. The Japanese people feel that this system is unfair. Coupled with the surge in passengers using rail passes in recent years, Japan’s generous offer is more difficult to sustain.

Before the outbreak, the Japanese tourism industry had a problem of “overtourism” due to the large number of tourists from the Asian middle class. However, with the current depreciation of the yen exchange rate, the new problem it faces is the price of goods in Japan and overseas. and income gap.

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Every year, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) convenes overseas personnel to report the current status of each country to Japanese travel operators. This gap is the most mentioned phenomenon this year.

Tourism bureau personnel stationed in Northern Europe said that the per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of local people is “about twice that of Japan”, so it is necessary to promote sightseeing itineraries with higher added value and prepare for more aggressive pricing.

As Japan opens up for tourism, reservations for trains and hotels are filling up one after another. Tight supply and demand, as well as the financial capacity of tourists visiting Japan, have all contributed to rising prices. Various high-end hotels targeting foreigners have appeared one after another, such as urban high-rise hotels that focus on night views, or B&Bs that have been renovated from traditional houses. In Roppongi, Tokyo, there is even a bowl of ultra-expensive ramen priced at 10,000 yen (approximately NT$2,167). It’s like two prices in one country.

According to reports, Barcelona, ​​Spain, has set off a wave of “anti-tourism” in the past due to over-tourism that led to skyrocketing rents and crowded public transportation. A similar phenomenon seems to be beginning to appear in Japan’s service industry. Service staff may outwardly welcome you because they “want to make money from you,” but in fact they harbor resentment on the inside.

The report pointed out that one of the solutions is the “dual pricing system.” Setting higher ticket prices for foreign tourists will not only help increase revenue and maintain local infrastructure, but also curb demand while allowing Japanese people to continue to enjoy affordable prices. Just like in major tourist countries such as Nepal, Cambodia and Thailand, many tourist facilities only charge tickets for foreign tourists, and domestic residents can enter for free.

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However, charging high fees only for foreigners could be seen as discriminatory. Relevant people involved in the formulation of tourism policies said that in the future, the fee may also be increased, but domestic residents can enjoy the discount as long as they show proof. For example, there are aquariums in Malaysia that offer discounts with proof of identity. This is also a kind of double pricing, but the method is more detailed.

The report pointed out that the Japanese tourism industry has long taken France as a model, based on serving local people and supplemented by foreigners, but in the future it may have to learn more from emerging countries that rely on foreigners.

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2023-09-25 09:06:17

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