Inbound Ambassador

Sustainable innovation to tackle discrimination

Hiroshi Hosokawa, president of Slacktide Co is offering free stays to stranded international tourists in Japan during COVID19 as a way to counterbalance any discrimination they may feel. The Room for Rescue crowdfunding initiative promotes hospitality and tourism in Kanazawa during the coronavirus crisis. In the following video, Hosokawa-san shares his motivation to launch this sustainable innovation.

Until the end of April, 2020 the Kaname Inn Hotel in Kanazawa, one of the tourism products run by the Slacktide Co KANAME group, is offering free stays via their Room for Rescue Crowdfunding project to any international travelers who may be stuck in Japan during the COVID19 crisis.

Room for Rescue aims to provide free stays to international travelers stranded in Japan during the #covid19 crisis.

The video interview is in both English and Japanese (thanks to an excellent translator, Echigo-san) and has a lot of interesting #takeaways about #sustainablebusiness #hospitality #crowdfunding and the appeal of #Kanazawa as a sustainable travel destination.

Hotel Sustainable Business Management

During the interview, we also had a chance to talk about other #sustainability initiatives in use at their #hotel such as #refill stations for water bottles – I hope this hotel will be listed on the mymizu app.

I mentioned to Hosokawa-san how happy I was to hear that they offer water refill stations at their hotels as we regularly volunteer to #cleanup beaches + rivers. At the clean-ups, we pick up thousands of plastic drink bottles each year, so we really appreciate any efforts by businesses and individuals in Japan to offer refill water stations in order to reduce plastic waste and plastic pollution that ends up in our oceans. #umigomi #cleanoceans

Welcoming International Visitors to Support Local Businesses

In terms of building #socialequity and #destination #branding – this project grew out of a desire to provide support for local businesses, as well as helping welcome international travelers in need.

Over the long term, there are benefits for the community bigger than simply offering free stays.

This helps build a stronger brand as travelers will be more attracted to destinations like this which works hard to make them feel the most welcome in addition to providing high-quality service.

Act as a Positive Balance to Negative Discrimination

Hosokawa-san talks about the importance of providing a warm welcome to international travelers to offset any discrimination they may feel in Japan- especially now during the #coronavirus crisis as some locals blame ‘outsiders’ and ban them from eateries and other businesses.

So far in 2020, an Osaka hotel was in the Asahi news for its “Japanese only” floor.

As the Diamond Princess took over the coronavirus news in Japan in February, 2020, the Japan Times wrote,

Since the coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China, the world has seen a rise in xenophobia, with reports of discrimination including race-based harassment in schools, tourist spots and foreign communities in Japan prompting authorities and educators to take action.

Create International Work Opportunities

Hosokawa-san is also trying to create more opportunities to integrate international staff into his Japanese company’s team so they can learn from each other as well as establish a more sustainable business.

He was very appreciative of his company’s media manager, Rachel Quinn, who helped me set up the interview and is helping the group make important international connections. He said there are many things he is learning from Rachel and credited her with creating new opportunities and connections for the company.

Next Update on Room for Rescue in June 2020

I’ll check back again with Hosokawa-san in June as their #crowdfunding campaign #room4rescue nears the deadline.

By then, we’ll check-in on this innovative hotel project and we may have a clearer vision of the best steps forward for sustainable businesses in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry in Japan.

Thank you

Thank you to Hiroshi Hosokawa for taking time to share his ideas about sustainability, innovation, and hospitality with me in the interview. Much appreciation also to Rachel Quinn, the media manager at Slacktide Co. Ltd. who set up this interview and allowed me to use pictures on the KANAME co. media kit for the video. I’d also like to thank Echigo-san for his translation assistance during the interview.

Another big thanks for the introduction to this initiative by Rochelle Kopp of Japan Intercultural Consulting.

JapanToday 日本語版 covered this story and has a link for any stranded international visitors to contact the hotel for free stays available until the end of April – see more on the Japan Today post here.

#sustainablebusiness #sustainability #Japan #thefutureoftravel #innovation