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Panel issues report on enhancing 'ryokan' info for foreign tourists

May 20 (Thu ), 2010
Panel issues report on enhancing 'ryokan' info for foreign tourists
     A Japanese governmental panel has compiled a report on ways to make Japanese-style ''ryokan'' inns more convenient and comfortable for foreign tourists by providing various information in foreign languages and employing online images and animation.
     The outline of the report, which was presented Friday by the Japan Tourism Agency panel, proposed that commonly used systems for accommodation and other services at Japanese-style inns be introduced to foreigners in easily understandable ways.
     For instance, the report says that foreign visitors often face difficulties learning about traditional bathing customs at hot springs and many believe ryokans are expensive because they normally charge for one night stays with two meals.
     The panel emphasized the need to distribute information in foreign languages, specifically Chinese and Korean, to boost the number of tourists from East Asia.
     ''The demand among foreign tourists is potentially high for use of ryokans as a place to experience forms of Japanese culture,'' the report said. It also urges the government to hire foreign trainees and students living in Japan as interpreters at the inns.
     The panel also called for improvements to the system under which accommodation facilities in Japan are registered as ''international hotels'' if they meet certain standards, including being able to provide customer services in English.
     Hinting that the system does not sufficiently cater to the needs of foreign tourists, the panel said a review of the standards is necessary.