The debt-laden city of Kyoto is anxiously awaiting the return of tourists and questioning its financial situation. As in 2020, autumn, a season highly regarded for the beauty of the red maple and yellow ginkgo trees, will be extremely peaceful in the former Japanese capital. In the alley leading to the mahogany gate of Kiyomizu Temple, two-thirds of the merchants closed their curtains. The attendance rate of large hotels did not exceed one-third of 2019.
The winter does not look lively. The government has postponed the re-launch of the Go To Travel travel support program until February 2022, which is currently being redesigned. “In order to be safer in terms of health”, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida explained on Wednesday, November 10. The border remains closed to foreign tourists.
This event was first launched in 2020, subsidized half of the travel expenses, and partially reimbursed in the form of local product vouchers. It was a huge success, but it caused explosive growth in the Covid-19 case and caused irony. It was found Self baptized “Go to Covid” Where “Go to heaven” (“Go to Heaven”).
For Kyoto, the long-term collapse of tourism—an 88% decline in 2020 compared to 2019—is dragging down the city’s revenue. It is estimated that the deficit for the fiscal year ending in March 2022 is about 50 billion yen (approximately 383 million euros), which will be added to the 860 billion yen of accumulated debt. If this trend continues, the annual loss may reach 260 billion yen by 2025.
This situation forced Mayor Kadokawa Daisaku to discuss in August, “The possibility of bankruptcy in the next ten years” And announced the reorganization plan. It plans to cut 550 administrative jobs and cut social assistance by 2025, especially by reducing home care funding. According to parliamentarians, how to save 160 billion yen and avoid bankruptcy is synonymous with the state taking over city finances. Several municipalities in the archipelago such as Yubari in Hokkaido (northern) have suffered humiliation.
The city must bear the expense of one of the city’s two subway lines. Tozai opened in 1997, but its attendance rate is still lower than expected.
In addition to the announced savings, even according to good connoisseurs of local affairs, “It’s hard to imagine that big companies in the region, such as Kyocera, Nintendo or Omron, would abandon the city”, Kyoto seems to be forced to thoroughly review its financial situation, and its problems have been obscured by the boom in tourism.
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