- 14 Mar 2002
As surging visitor numbers strain popular sites, tour operators start touting Japan's less explored regions, such as Nagano 's Kiso Valley or Kunisaki Peninsula in Oita. The operators also believe in tourism's power to positively impact rural communities and spur chihō sosei (地方蘇生), or regional revitalisation.
As Japan's population greys, many small villages are on the brink of extinction. For such communities, tourism can be a welcome and much-needed rejuvenating force. "With the right support, some communities genuinely want [tourists] to experience their hospitality and their local lifestyles and find out about their region, as long as they aren't overwhelmed by visitors and the quality of life isn't degraded," Alex Bradshaw, founder and chief consultant at travel and tourism consultancy Gotoku, told Al Jazeera. "Even if a village doesn't survive into the future, the fact that it's been remembered by somebody is incredibly powerful; people lived here and had this lifestyle, and we shared a little time together. That kind of human interaction is very important.'
Tour operators are touting Japan’s less explored regions as surging visitor numbers put strain on popular sites.