5th Island Meeting Held on Miyakejima
On 13th of February, “The 5th Island Assembly” was held at “Cocoport”; a meeting place for passengers in Ako Fishing Port, Miyakejima. Nine members gathered, who have been participating since the first meeting. In this 5th meeting, they would be further discussing the specific brand concept and action plan ideas.
From the previous Island Assembly, it was decided that the concept of Miyakejima will be based on “Environment of the volcanic island” and “Awareness as a member of the planet earth”. What kind of experiences should be provided so that people would become fans of this island through experiencing these values? To dig into the possibilities that Miyakejima has as a volcanic island, one of the participants shared his experience with the volcano.
One said “I wanted to become a member of Miyakejima, beautiful yet strong, by participating in the island festivals. The festivals and farming, making pickles using the winter crops― indulging in these culture full of knowledge and experiences on how to live with nature on the island, I felt the true “power to live”. Another said ”The charm of Miyakejima is its geography where multiple volcanic activities resulted in gentle slopes leading to the sea. You can easily go to the sea and enjoy a walk while listening to the waves, or drink beer and enjoy the seaside. Also, they used the example of how people in Kagoshima used their active volcano, Sakurajima to promote their place to tourists. They pointed out that “active volcano could become an impactful and unique brand of Miyakejima”. “Volcanic island easily accessible from the city center” was the key point to be pushed forward. Many ideas such as these were shared by the participants.
In the discussion session, after each presentation, ideas were shared such as “listening to experiences with the volcano and keeping them for generations to come will be a crucial thing for the island community”. Others said “You can see the change of plants from volcanic ash. I realized in 10 or 20 years time how powerful the regeneration power of nature is”. “As we talk about the island from the point of view of volcano, we can relate to so many different fields,” said another participant.
Following that, the facilitator asked everyone “Do you have any other ideas? You will be able to see tourism that connects by listening to people’s stories about their experiences, what they saw, and places where you have to go yourself to get the most out of it”. As they had this free-talk time, ideas were written down on sticky notes and were posted on the paper on the wall.
Many substantial ideas were shared, including “How about you include the stories related to volcanoes as part of their experience?”, and “Instead of looking for a new target, wouldn’t it be better to do things that will help the current customers enjoy more, so that they would come again?”.
In the discussion, the themes were narrowed down to ”on-site experiences(*)” such as “stories of volcano”, “treasure hunting”, “the problem of existing preconception about volcanoes”, and “how to go about presenting the tourist information”. These themes were visualized on the paper on the wall.
* On-site experiences……Tourist experiences sold in areas where they accept tourists.
Lastly, they re-confirmed the schedule for preparation for the event at the end of March, which will be held at Tokyo Midtown. The participants shared their views such as “We don’t want the presentation to end only as a report. It is important to make it look fun and cool.” The office staff also said that they will continue to share their discussion and provide support.