Japan's 'Love Hotels' Doing Brisk Business Despite Recession
Despite the ongoing recession, Japan's short-stay "love hotels" are reportedly enjoying a "robust trade".
And while car manufacturers, electronics companies and other sectors of the world's second-largest economy are struggling to survive, the hotels are showing an increase in their take.
"If you look at the statistics over the last 10 years, they show a very steady uptrend that is not much affected by the economy," the Telegraph quoted a spokesman for New Perspective, which manages six love hotels across Japan, as saying.
Steve Mansfield, the company's chief executive officer, described the industry as "recession-proof" in an interview with Bloomberg.
The prospects in the industry are so good that the firm is looking to add to its portfolio of properties, the spokesman confirmed.
Analysts put the annual turnover of the industry at more than Y4 trillion - a figure that companies such as Sony or Toyota would dearly love to be able to report - and that 500 million visits to love hotels take place every year.
A three-hour stay-euphemistically termed a "rest"-costs around Y3000, while an overnight "stay" starts at around Y10,000.
Often found clustered in the back streets of the traditional entertainment districts of big cities, love hotels initially catered to prostitutes and their clients but boomed in the post-war era due to the shortage of accommodation and couples' privacy needs.
There are an estimated 25,000 such establishments across the country today, many fitted out with state-of-the-art entertainment systems, karaoke facilities, whirlpool baths and room service.