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The Traveller's Magazine
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Tourism in Tokyo is booming but the city is having trouble keeping up. That’s exactly why developers have started turning offices into hotel rooms to accommodate the city’s record-number of tourists.

Developers have really been thinking outside the box in order to solve the city’s problem on hotel room shortages. Japan is set to break its tourism record of last year, which saw 13.4 million travellers booking flights to Tokyo and elsewhere in the country. A weak yen and easier visa requirements are making it a top destination for 2015.

The government hopes to hit 20 million annual tourists by 2020, when Tokyo will host the Olympic Games. The rise in tourist numbers means that hotels are booked solid. The city only has around 100,000 hotel rooms and only 7,600 rooms are set to be built in the next few years.

High land prices have slowed building, which is why old office buildings are being transformed into hotels, at a bargain price of £20 a night. It’s a lot cheaper to convert than to build from scratch. One such hotel is called Grids, in the Akihabara district. It was converted in less than a year and only cost £5m. Today it charges £17 a night per person in a bunkbed and £25 for a premium room.

Img: norio-nakayama / Flickr cc.

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