In Asakusa, a quaint part of town filled with souvenir shops, rickshaw drivers, and stalls selling traditional candy, news of the omicron variant made little difference this week. Vendors say there hasn’t been any activity for months except for a few local customers.
In South Africa, Frederic Plachesi, owner of the Tamboti Lodge in the Dinokeng Game Reserve, is facing a similar drop in the number of international guests his business depends on.
“There is a good chance that for the next few months only locals will be visiting the lodge,” Plachesi said. “We estimate a 60% loss of business due to omicron restrictions.”
Alpine ski resorts in Europe are worried about how to meet requirements such as ensuring that all skiers are vaccinated or cured of the infection and have tested negative for the virus.
Matthias Stauch, head of the German association of ski lift operators VDS, said many are small family businesses that lack the staff to carry out such checks. Meanwhile, the association warns of “massive” economic damage to the tourism sector if there is another foreclosure.
Travel officials say government decisions on restrictions should wait until more is known about omicron, but they admit it’s a tough call.