Sustainable Tourism in Japan - innovation & inspiration

September 20 Climate Strike 2019

On September 20th, 2019 Groups around the world held rallies, marches and protest to speak-out against fossil-fuels, plastics, convenience culture, overconsumption, fast-fashion, meat industry, government inaction, and corporate ethics among many other topics related to the Climate Crisis. The international organization 350.org publishes information on where you can join a #climatestrike anywhere in the world.

The movement was started by Greta Thunberg, one sole student choosing to protest in front of her local government buildings instead of going to school. Her protests then became the #FridaysForFuture movement as other students worldwide took Fridays off to protest their local government offices in a similar fashion. Hashtags #istandwithgreta and #westandwithgreta reflect this solidarity with Greta who has been the inspiration behind the movement.

In terms of international tourism, there are many clear connections to climate change and the policies that governments make. As Japan’s economy becomes more reliant on tourism, making sustainable policy can positively influence the benefits inbound tourism can have on the economy for many years while benefitting the lives of local people.

In the next few years, we will see huge changes in daily habits of people around the world to eat less meat, fly less, and patronize more ethical and sustainable destinations, services, and products. This shift in travel behavior will have a huge impact all over the world, especially in Japan.

Flying is a major contributor of greenhouse gas, so destinations like Japan have to offer greater appeal to attract visitors from across the world who may choose to take a train, bus or drive somewhere instead of flying to save on carbon emissions. If visitors can balance their carbon footprint on vacation by traveling efficiently by train (Japan’s strongpoint), staying in hotels that are powered by renewable energy and which follow ethical practices (a weak point in Japan), this will add greater appeal to potential travelers.

In business as well as in our personal, everyday lives making more sustainable choices and improving the image of Japan as a destination of people and businesses which care about climate change will generate great destination appeal as well as improve the lives of local residents.

At the Hiroshima Climate Strike, we had activists join who were tourists in the city and during their travels they wanted to take part in the rally to join with locals in speaking up about the Climate Crisis. If there were no event in Hiroshima, it would reflect badly on the destination as a whole and travelers may choose to be in other cities and perceive that local residents do not care about issues they deeply care about. Visitors from Germany, Spain, France, Australia, and America joined our #climatestrike rally and made up over half of our group- it was impressive! Giving them a chance to meet other likeminded locals will leave them with a more positive impression of the destination in general.