Had a lively conversation with Ollie Horn and Bobby Judo on their podcast series Japan By River Cruise
Sustainable Post-Covid19 Tourism
One of the main themes of this talk is what will post-covid19 travel look like, and what SHOULD it look like?
I didn’t hold back in this conversation and Ollie and Bobby asked some great questions- some of my ideas sound radical to ban cruise ships and tour buses from city centers, but there is good reason for this.
Business-as-usual tourism products and services which focus on packing in crowds, success by numbers, which offers no benefits to local people, local environments or the economy has no place in the future of tourism.
There needs to be a shift in planning policy to meet the new demands of social distancing and travel safety post-covid19 AS WELL AS a focus on slow travel where visitors have to pay a bit more, stay a bit longer, but have more meaningful and valuable travel experiences in return.
Other radical ideas in the talk to stop international flights to city central hubs like Haneda and Kansai, obliging international visitors to land only in rural international airports where of course they could take a domestic flight to Haneda or Kansai, but they could also choose to spend time in less urban and more rural locations as well.
We All Need to Travel Like the French
French travelers are great for Japan as they embrace slower travel, spend time in rural areas, are interested in culture and heritage and local foods. These factors show us the RIGHT kind of inbound visitor Japan should try to attract as slow travel is better for local quality of life and less damaging to the environment as well as creates economic benefits for small businesses. Ideally, Japan should have a range of products and services in rural areas that allow visitors to stay for over a month in Japan, traveling far and wide, taking part in local experiences, and having more meaningful travel experiences better for both visitors and locals.
Revitalization of Rural Areas
Utilization of Akiya abandoned houses and buildings can be a great point of appeal to draw city dwellers to the countryside towns that are becoming ghost towns.
Japan’s government is on the right track with encouraging Tokyo workers who are already working from home to consider a move to a rural area where they will help fund the transition and help build up the local media-friendly infrastructure to make it possible to continue to work remotely.
If we have more Tokyo-ites settling outside of Tokyo (now 30% of Japan’s population), it would be a healthy shift for the individuals and their families, the rural communities, as well as create more welcoming tourist destinations. A shift outside city centers also creates less environmental and social damage than when everyone is crammed into urban centers.
Japan By River Cruise
I enjoyed talked with Bobby and Ollie, I appreciate what they are doing with the podcast series adding humor to social, environmental and Japan news stories – it’s well worth listening to for anyone interested in Japan.