Local Tourism Industry in Shock after Noto Peninsula Earthquake in Japan

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Suzunari, a michi-no-eki roadside rest area, in Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture, is seen closed on Saturday.

SUZU, Ishikawa — Local tourism officials expressed disappointment Saturday, a day after an earthquake that registered a maximum intensity of upper 6 on the Japanese seismic scale of 7 in Suzu in Ishikawa Prefecture.

People involved in the tourism industry are concerned about the quake’s impact on their businesses.

“We’ve lost all our customers, even though their number had been increasing,” said a 37-year-old employee of Noto Suzunari, a nonprofit organization that promotes tourism in the city.

Around 30 of the city’s about 40 lodging facilities have temporarily closed due to the temblor. Reservations for Golden Week — which lasted through Sunday — were significantly up from last year, and many facilities were fully booked from Wednesday to Saturday.

Suzunari, a michi-no-eki roadside rest area run by the NPO, had been welcoming large numbers of tourists, and its about 50-space parking lot was full each day.

Following the earthquake, the rest area was forced to close until around Saturday noon. “We were particularly shocked, because we’d been enjoying brisk sales,” the employee said.

Meanwhile, Lamp no Yado, an inn in the Yoshigaura hot spring resort in Suzu, escaped damage to its facilities and was operating as usual Saturday. Its 14 rooms had been fully booked for the day, but it received four cancellations.

The inn said it has been inundated with calls from customers worried about aftershocks. “We were expecting an increase of customers as the [coronavirus] pandemic began to subside,” a 37-year-old inn employee said. “I hope there won’t be a fall in the number of visitors to the Noto Peninsula.”