As Japanese prepare to head for the hills Thursday for their inaugural Mountain Day holiday, retailers and tourism operators are gearing up for an $8 billion windfall.
They’re counting on customers like school teacher Ayako Kobayashi. The 33-year-old spent more than $700 on a sleeping bag, mattress, backpack and trekking food to climb Mount Kita near Nagano last weekend. She’s looking to buy a two-person tent and a bigger backpack next, which would set her back another $1,000. The high price tag is worth it, she says.
While the holiday is aimed more at encouraging people to appreciate Mount Fuji and the country’s other natural attractions, businesses are counting on Mountain Day to bolster an economy threatened by a strengthening yen and weak consumer spending.
Mountain Day, coupled with Obon, will add about 820 billion yen ($8 billion) in spending across the tourism, leisure, hospitality, transportation and retail industries, according to Toshihiro Nagahama, chief economist at Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute in Tokyo.
Asahi Group Holdings Ltd., Japan’s largest beverage maker by market value, predicts Mountain Day will spur sales of its beer and food.
Snow Peak Inc., which makes titanium stoves and other camping equipment, says Japan’s expanding outdoor-venturing population will drive earnings growth for the company,