On Saturday, December 5th, the Japan Institute of Tourism Research held a virtual forum with Professor Jeff Berglund, Chair of the Faculty of Global Engagement’s Department of Global Tourism, as the chair of the event’s executive committee. Our campus provided the space necessary to run the event, of which attracted over 350 viewers.
After a virtual excursion that introduced the students’ hometowns by Associate Professor Eric Charles Hawkinson of the Faculty of Global Engagement’s Department of Global Tourism, a symposium titled “The future of tourism in Kyoto: looking ahead to a post-pandemic world” was held in the afternoon.
With Professor Kazuki Hara, Deputy Chair of the Department of Global Tourism, as the moderator, a baseline study that revealed Kyoto’s current state of affairs was presented by Kyoto City Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa, followed by a keynote speech on sustainable tourism by Ms. Hiroko Suzuki, Deputy Chief of the UNWTO Regional Support Office for Asia and the Pacific.
The panel discussion that followed included topics such as how the notion of normality is being redefined due to the coronavirus pandemic, and how tourism from here on should be about quality and authenticity rather than quantity. The post-pandemic world should not be about getting things back to how things used to be, but about increasing our awareness on environmental issues, and for instance in Kyoto the city should promote tourism based on cycling and walking. That way, there would be more exchanges between tourists and the locals including children, reminding the locals to feel proud about their history and culture, and thus allowing us to revisit the original motto behind our tourism-oriented country—a great place to both live and visit.
At the end of the discussion, Mr. Hyota Echizenya, coordinator of the online forum and adjunct instructor at KUFS, concluded, “The pandemic can be seen as an opportunity to take a bold step forward. Kyoto at its finest has yet to come.”