October 5, 2020

The Current State of Gradually-spreading Online Tourism

Online tourism is spreading. In an environment where the novel coronavirus continues to make travel difficult, online tourism is an effort to see and interact with locations through video and other media. Many people are still worried about the risk of getting infected as they travel. Businesses are coming up with tricks that could lead to attracting customers after the coronavirus dies down.

A geisha girl (professional female entertainer) on a PC screen raises her sake cup and shout "cheers!" It's the beginning of the "Online drinking party with a geisha girl" begun by Hakone Yumoto Entertainment Guild. Foreigners are 70% of the participants. This event is gaining popularity as an easy way to get in touch with a traditional culture of geisha girls.

Participating geisha girls can speak English, as well as performing Japanese traditional dances and songs when asked. The fee is ¥1,650 per person for 30 minutes (¥2,000 when requesting English-speaking geisha girls). Participants can even send ¥100 tips, called "ohineri" (traditional wrapped offerings of money) to geishas they want to support online.

It is hoped that this approach will give people who can't go and have experiences in person a new way to enjoy travel, and maybe make them want to actually visit the destination later.