In Pursuit of “Responsible Tourism” – Monitor Tour to Kozushima! Part 2
As a means of testing the responsible tourism and value added to existing tours it has been working on, Kozushima – whose brand concept is “An island with an abundance of water that’ll make you realize ordinary miracles” invited four foreign tourists to participate in a monitor tour of the island. (Following on from Part 1).
After lunch, participants used the audio guide service being developed as part of the island's tourism content to get a feel for the history and culture of Kozushima, visiting Monoiminanomikoto Shrine and the bronze statue that depicts the island’s water distribution myth. Listening to the explanation of the historic shrine, whose name can be found in a document compiled in the 900s, the participants were very interested in all facets of Japanese shrine culture, including the sacred trees.
During their free time, the participants enjoyed life on the island to the fullest, some choosing to hike Mt. Chichibu, with others turning their time into a workation. After dinner, they visited Kozushima Hot Spring Recreation Center, the only hot spring facility on Kozushima. For some, it was their first time to experience a hot spring in Japan, and they immersed themselves in Japanese hot spring culture.
Owing to bad weather conditions, the participants were unable to enjoy the stargazing tour, but a four-hour workshop was held in its stead. Discussions continued late into the night about what could be done in the case of bad weather and what kind of island experiences they felt to be worthwhile.
Some participants said that the opportunity to interact with local people was more important than anything else, and that a single photo that would have people wanting to visit the island was a must. The discussion covered a wide range of topics, including ideas for using social networking services to communicate with the public. Various opinions were expressed about plans for bad weather, which was the biggest concern, ranging from "It’s the same as when you go to see the Northern Lights. If you don’t get to see them, that’s okay" to "I’d like to see an accommodation plan that allows people to extend their stay until the weather improves.”
The next day, Mr. Nakamura, a local guide, gave another lecture on the culture and history of Kozushima. Participants bombarded him with questions until just before it was time to board the ferry. This opportunity to interact with the local people was one of the best parts of the trip.
This monitor tour allowed us to examine the island, the concept of "responsible tourism" and to discuss with participants the value to be found in the stargazing tour. We will continue our efforts to promote Kozushima’s appeal, creating more specific content and more detailed plans aimed at making tourism more self-driven.