Thousands of fans planning to travel to the Tokyo Olympics face uncertainty about flight refunds and hotel reimbursements after the 2020 games were postponed to next year due to the coronavirus pandemic and are feared to be victims of greed.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) last month decided to postpone the games because of the disease that has now claimed over 100,000 lives worldwide.
The IOC said tickets for sporting events will be reimbursed if people are unable to attend in 2021, but admitted that "they were unable to comment on hotel or flight bookings made through third parties."
An American professor of sports management at the University of Washington reserved 31 rooms for her students for 26 days and cost $ 90,000.
She says that if she doesn't ask for the ticket refund, hoping that her students can make the new dates from July 23rd to August 8th next year, there is "no guarantee" that hotel and plane reservations will match be moved.
"We are still waiting for the hotel and the airline," Lisa Delpy Neirotti told AFP. "They said it would take a while to let us know.
"I firmly believe that the government must intervene if hoteliers and airlines get greedy and do not work with Olympic fans or organizations, as this will not look good for Japanese tourism, but for Japan as a country."
In 2018, the Japanese Ministry of Tourism announced that 600,000 foreign viewers attended the games, which was a significant economic gain.
However, many of these potential visitors find themselves at a dead end three weeks after the move is announced.
"I made a six-night reservation at Sakura Cross Hotel in Tokyo for around 60,000 yen ($ 553) two years ago through booking.com," said a Frenchman who wanted to remain anonymous.
"I don't want to reclaim this amount, just transfer the reservation to 2021."
However, the hotel declined, saying it could "not take into account the special circumstances."
"I had taken out insurance at the same time as the plane ticket," he added.
"However, the exact insurance conditions do not clearly state whether the pandemic is covered."
Shock for Japanese hotels
The delay will also affect the Japanese hotel industry, which had already seen a decline in hotel bookings in March compared to the previous year.
"This is a huge shock for us, as sales in many of our member hotels have already halved due to the declining demand for tourism, not only from abroad, but also from Japan due to the corona virus," said Shigemi Sudo, Secretary General of Tokyo Hotels and Ryokans Association.
Given the poor advertising and growing discontent, some Japanese hotels are very understanding.
"We can normally charge cancellation fees, but in this case it's not our customers' fault, so we can't ask for it," said a spokesman for the Via Inn hotel chain.
"I don't know if we can negotiate compensation with Olympic officials or not."
An official from the Tokyo Organizing Committee said the problem of hotel reservations had been "considered".
"Like everyone else, it's a setback. We're going to fight for a while," said Greg Harney, a consultant to Cartan Global, an American company that sells packages for the games.
"I've heard from very few people who asked for a refund, probably a few, it's encouraging.
"When the crisis is over, I have the feeling that people want to travel even more than before. Interest in the games will be even greater."
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)