Tourism

Osaka to launch minpaku rating system for private tourist sites

OSAKA — The certification system for minpaku private accommodations will be introduced here for the first time as operators prepare for an influx of foreign visitors following the lifting of travel restrictions due to COVID-19.

The purpose of the system is to help travelers find accommodation that meets safety and other standards.

The Osaka-based Japan Private Housing Association, which includes minpaku operators, is set to launch the certification system as early as this month.

He intends to eliminate illegal operators and differentiate those who offer low-quality services from certified housing in order to improve the image of the industry.

To be certified, minpaku operators must meet approximately 110 standards covering safety, hygiene, management and other aspects through field surveys.

The association will evaluate operators seeking certification based on factors such as whether they provide garbage disposal regulations in foreign languages, whether they have infection control measures in place, whether they have an automated external defibrillator (AED) and other emergency medical equipment. assistance and whether they are ready to deal with complaints from neighbors.

Certified facilities will be implemented by travel agencies and tourist information offices on a preferential basis. They will also be listed on the booking site created by the association.

Field surveys will be conducted for a fee, and the association is in the process of determining the price.

The association plans to launch the certification system in Osaka Prefecture, which boasts a large number of minpaku operators, before expanding to other prefectures across the country in or after 2023.

Non-members of the association can also apply for certification.

The number of people renting out parts of their homes and vacant apartments continued to rise after a new law came into effect in 2018 allowing private housing for rent.

Prior to the new coronavirus pandemic that broke out in early 2020, non-Japanese guests accounted for about 70 percent of minpaku users at some times.

Operators are required by law to register their properties as private residences with the local government before starting a minpaku business.

However, some owners began to work arbitrarily and did not inform foreign guests about the rules for garbage collection, which often led to problems with neighbors.

Many operators have ceased operations due to the spread of the new coronavirus, resulting in a halving of the association’s membership.

But those numbers are expected to bounce back once foreign visitors start flocking to Japan again.

In May, the government lifted the ban on foreign tourists entering Japan and began allowing small tourist groups of visitors on a trial basis.

“If we don’t take any steps, we will have a lot of problems when we welcome incoming tourists again,” the association’s head, Toshio Oue, told The Asahi Shimbun.

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