On the evening of May 6, we again enjoyed the hospitality of Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management, to present the final set of talks in our 3-part cross-cultural Travel Lecture Series: Country Roads: Rural Tourism in Canada and Japan.
Professor Christopher Fullerton (Brock University) opened by providing a clear foundation for understanding what rural tourism is and how it operates in the Canadian context. He explained the extent to which, in the case of successful rural tourism efforts, the existing environment is an intrinsic part of tourism to a given place. We were treated to images of quaint rural villages, wild natural expanses, as well as giant perogies, all intended to entice tourists as rural areas face the twin challenges of depopulation and economic decline.
Professor Atsuko Hashimoto (Brock University) then presented the Japanese case, known as “Green Tourism,” a combination of eco-, rural- and agri-tourism. She discussed the rural Kyushu village she has been studying for over a decade, and the program of “mura okoshi” (community rejuvenation) the government has been promoting in the area. While there are examples of successful rural tourism development in Japan, this region is, unfortunately, not one of them. In explaining why, Professor Hashimoto stressed the importance of local community involvement in the planning and management of rural tourism projects.
As wonderful as the two speakers were, the loudest applause of the evening went to our host, Professor Tiessen, who received much deserved appreciation for getting the projector back up and running after we experienced the very urban problem of a false fire alarm.