The buzzword for this summer among travel agents is ロングバケーション (long vacation). KNT, ANA airlines and JTB have all recently launched campaigns to encourage Japanese to take longer holidays than normal. Facing a long hot summer of possible power shortages, it’s likely that many customers might take the bait.
While JTB is offering long vacation package holidays for up to 15 days, KNT travel has trumped them with a selection of holidays of up to 22 days. All locations offered are overseas, allowing stressed-out Japanese to put a bit of distance between themselves and the ailing Fukushima nuclear reactor.
If the concept of long holidays does appeal to Japanese, it remains to be seen which locations will be popular. Both relaxing beach vacations in locations like Hawaii, Bali and Guam are being offered alongside trips to cooler climates. To appeal to those desperate to escape the heat, KNT has also launched a range of クールバカンス (cool vacations) and locations include Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Japanese summertime is wintertime for southern hemisphere climates, so it’s even possible to go snowboarding in New Zealand.
For those who want to stay in Japan, ANA is offering packages holidays to Hokkaido, Kyushu and Okinawa for up to 14 days from June 1. Hokkaido’s summers are nice and cool whereas Kyushu and Okinawa offer many beautiful locations suited to beach bums. Despite the heat down south, power saving strictures will not apply, so you won’t be made to feel guilty for turning on the aircon in your hotel room.
Typically, it’s rather hard for Japanese workers to get their bosses to agree to long vacations. This season, however, might be different, according to Kyodo News, Toshiba has just announced that it is introducing two-three week summer holidays for employees so it can cut production and meet government power saving goals. Rather than facing opposition from their boss, employees, at least those working in industries that are looking to meet power saving targets, might be actively encouraged to embrace the incipient long vacation trend.