4th International Symposium on Aspects of Tourism
THE END OF TOURISM? Mobility and Local-Global Connections
Eastbourne June 23/24 2005
Sustainable Tourism in Japan
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt
University of Applied Sciences Stralsund






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  Sustainable Tourism in Japan


 Sustainable tourism started after the collapse of the bubble economy with the “Green Tourism Law” of 1995, supporting local initiatives and the idea of Sustainability.

 However instead of a fully developed holistic concept based on definitions by the Brundlandt commission and WTO, Sustainability is interpreted as a tool to support the 'Japanese-ness' of the countryside.


“When promoting tourism, it is vital that we avoid hasty destruction of the natural environment and the creation of commercially oriented resorts, and that we focus instead on the preservation of the natural environment and historical heritages. This is what is meant by sustainable tourism. The first step is to foster regional development through the creation of comfortable communities that residents can take pride in.” (KEIDANREN 2000, 2, emphasis added WA)


 Rather than concentrating on the ecological and economical side of the 'sustainability triangle', local participation and community involvement is seen as a way to overcome the problem of depopulation of the countryside with the help of tourism. The interest of the environment as a stakeholder per se is ignored, human interaction and pride are the important elements of sustainable tourism.


 As benchmark for Sustainable Tourism, Yufuin (Kyushu) is often cited.



 New forms of tourism like Industrial Heritage tourism do, however, not find acceptance yet.

 Ecotourism, visits to National Parks and similar activities take place either overseas or only in eventisized form, given the preference for manipulated nature over the search for authenticity in pristine forests.

 Small wonder then, that the Japanese National Ecotourism Organisation is a One-woman-organisation started and financed by JTB and the Infrastructure Ministry.



 Contact: wolfgang.arlt@fh-stralsund.de  Tel. +49 (3831) 456 961