Q1) Is hnt operating tours during this coronavirus period?
As long as local rates of virus transmission remain low - as they have been throughout the epidemic - we at HNT are confident that private tourism with us is beneficial for the physical & mental well being of our guests. Studies have shown that spending time outdoors in nature with fresh air and sunshine is an effective way to combat the effects of Coronavirus. Additionally, with a 99.76% survival rate (based on American CDC data), we do not think that travelling on a private tour in Hokkaido is dangerous at this time. We are also taking steps to ensure that our tours maintain a safe and healthy environment for our guests, guides and local partners (see below for more details).
Q2) Are hotels, tourist destinations and activity operators open at this time?
The vast majority of hotels, tourist destinations and activity operators are already reopened and excited to welcome back guests from around Japan (currently there are no domestic travel restrictions) and the world (currently significant international travel restrictions in place) once travel restrictions are eased. We have undertaken a number of research trips in the past few months to better understand the on-the-ground situation in Hokkaido as relates to restrictions on tourism, and in our experiences, other than masks and sanitizers, our guests will hardly notice any difference from pre-Coronavirus conditions.
Q3) What steps will hnt take during my tour to ensure proper hygiene?
We are committed to the high standards of cleanliness for which our great country is famous for, including:
Daily sanitation of the tour vehicle while on tour with us
Face masks will be provided free of charge (1 mask per day per guest) throughout your tour with us
Antibacterial wet wipes will be provided in the tour vehicle
We will only partner with hotels & activity operators that maintain high standards of hygiene
Q4) What will happen if I feel sick or am hospitalized during my tour?
With years of experience in private tourism in Hokkaido, we have encountered a fair share of medical situations which our guides and administrative staff have provided the highest level of service and care to our guests while ensuring that the overall tour is affected as little as possible. For example, one of our guests cracked his tooth the night before starting a tour with us, and our guide expertly handled making the morning arrangements for the required dental surgery and was able to start the tour by midday. Needless to say our guests were grateful for the wonderful care received - including translation during the medical procedure - and were thrilled that their tour was hardly affected. In another instance, one of our guests rolled and fractured her ankle while on tour, and our guide arranged the entire visit to the hospital for treatment, including translation and medications, and the tour resumed the very next day. Please know that when you're on tour with us, you will treated like family, and your welfare & well being is truly our highest priority.
Please note that while we provide emergency medical insurance for the most extreme accidents/treatments, other ailments or conditions may not be covered by our guest insurance. As such, we strongly recommend for all of our guests to arrange their own travel insurance before leaving their home countries to ensure as much coverage as possible during your time abroad. Fortunately, health care in Japan is quite affordable and of fantastic quality, so our guests can feel assured that they will be well taken care of during their time in Japan.
Q5) What are HNT policies regarding coronavirus or other travel restrictions that may affect our tour?
With the unpredictability of international travel due to Coronavirus, we understand the need for greater flexibility while planning your trip to Hokkaido. As such, we are offering free tour postponements for any tours affected by international travel restrictions. Even if that means we need to cancel and/or re-book any activities and/or accommodations, or redesign your custom-made itinerary to better match updated travel dates, we will do so free-of-charge while remaining committed to your tour with us at a future date once travel restrictions ease.