LONDON Love&Hate 愛と憎しみのロンドン

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二都物語:東京、ロンドン from the point of Monocle




Why Tokyo’s tourism boom is a barometer for Europe’s health

While Tokyo is a regular stop on my travels and I’m used to the sense of security, I must admit I felt a sense of relief when I arrived on Wednesday. Where my behaviour in London or Paris or Munich is to scan my surroundings and pay attention to possible escapes, I walked out of Haneda without a worry. Within hours I could feel my shoulders had dropped to a more relaxed level, and once on the streets of Shibuya I felt “old school” — without that nagging “what if someone blows themselves up in front of me” feeling. In short “normal” versus “new normal”.

Back in Europe’s capitals, it does not look set to be a summer of record room rates for hotels. Just as Tokyo and Japan in general suffered after the earthquake and tsunami of 2011 as business people and their families relocated and tourists stayed away, the same story risks playing out in Europe’s hospitality and travel industry — or at least such is the perspective from east Asia.

Japanese carriers are looking at redeploying aircraft and focusing on Asia and North America as bookings slow to Europe. “It’s over for the Japanese when it comes to Europe. You can really forget it for the next couple of seasons,” said the public relations executive. “Some of it is fuelled by the travel agencies but there’s also the issue that companies are putting blanket travel bans of visits to Europe. If you’re an airline and you rely on 10 to 12 Japanese corporates to fill your planes, it means a definite downsizing of aircraft or reduction of frequency.”

The Tokyo bounceback, despite the threat of earthquakes, is a reminder that cities with the right spirit can stage a speedy recovery. Europe’s cities will in time surely bounce back. But while Europe’s leaders have spent a lot of time talking about how “the terrorists aren’t winning”, in terms of visitor numbers from specific markets, it may in the short term prove easy to argue otherwise.





UK heart disease deaths fall by over 20% since indoor smoking ban




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