Japan eyes public-private body to promote ‘workations’

Thinking outside the box: Sand Box Tottori, a workation hub that opened in May in Tottori in the Chugoku region. — The Japan News/ANN

THE Cabinet Secretariat and the Japan Tourism Agency plan to establish a public-private consultative body to promote working vacations.

The body, which will likely launch by the end of this fiscal year, will communicate the significance and benefits of “workations” and encourage companies to embrace this working style. The initiative also aims to revitalise regional economies, which have been sluggish amid the coronavirus pandemic.

About 30 entities, including local governments, tourism bodies and companies open to the idea, are expected to join the consultative organisation. Members will gather case studies from companies that have already introduced workations and regional entities that have hosted “workationers”.

The group will work towards normalising working vacations in Japan such as by serving as an intermediary between companies and regional entities.

Teleworking has become popular as a result of the pandemic, and workations are attracting increasing attention. For example, an employee might lodge for a time in a nature-rich regional area, working remotely on weekdays and vacationing on weekends. Some observers say this type of working style boosts work efficiency and helps generate new ideas.

In Japan, demand for travel rises at certain times of the year, such as during weekends, extended holidays and the year-end holiday season. But travellers usually rack up shorter consecutive overnight stays than people in Western countries, which is believed to be a factor in the sluggish growth of domestic travel spending.

Workationers, however, usually stay longer, including on weekdays, leading to high hopes among people and businesses in regional areas. — The Japan News/ANN

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