【Sustainable Tourism】Taiwan and Spain have been selected as the top 100 sustainable tourism destinations in the world. What efforts have you made? | Yamatogokoro.jp

already”Yamatogokoro.jp“, the 6th “2020 Top 100 Sustainable Development Destinations” was announced in October 2020, and Japan has been selected continuously since 2018. In addition to Kamaishi City in Iwate Prefecture, which continues to be selected, Kyoto City, Niseko Town (Hokkaido), Miura Peninsula (Kanagawa Prefecture), Shirakawa Village (Gifu Prefecture), and Okinawa Prefecture.

The “World’s Top 100 Sustainable Tourism Destinations” is an international certification body of the Netherlands Green Destinations Organization. If the local community prepares and submits the report and gets a certain evaluation, it is possible to enter the top 100.

Adherence to these globally recognized international indicators will create greater appeal to the growing number of sustainable-minded tourists, especially in Europe and the United States.

So, what kind of efforts are the overseas regions entering the top 100 making? I want to cover two areas: “Northeast Point and Yilan Coast National Scenic Area” in New Taipei City and Yilan City, Taiwan, and “Berguedà” in Catalonia, Spain.

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What is the number one sustainable tourism destination in Taiwan that Kamaishi regrets lagging behind?

Taiwan’s “Northeast Corner Yilan Coastal National Scenic Area” is one of the “World’s 100 Sustainable Tourism Destinations” and won the first place in the Asia-Pacific Best category in the 2020 Sustainable Destination Awards. By the way, the second place in the same category is unfortunately Kamaishi, which I mentioned in the book “Tourism Promotion”.

The most noteworthy sustainable tourism initiative in the Northeast and Yilan Coast National Scenic Area is the use of a tunnel called the Jiaoling Walkway, which was built during the Japanese occupation in the 1920s.

The 2-kilometer tunnel, known in Japan as the “Old Sorei Tunnel”, was closed in 1985 and its entrances and exits were closed, leaving it unused for more than 20 years. However, in order to promote sustainable tourism in the area, it was turned into a promenade in 2007 and a bike path in 2008.

Later, in 2013, it became a 20-kilometer “Northeast Bicycle Lane” and developed into a bicycle lane. Fishing village and coast. It was later called the pitch.

By repurposing the cultural heritage of the old tunnels, connecting cyclists to the surrounding fishing villages, it will also help preserve the culture and traditions of the small villages that dot the area. Tourism development was successful.

We also conduct fixed-point observations on the life satisfaction of local residents.

Of course, the efforts of the Northeast and Yilan Coastal National Scenic Areas do not stop there. Since 2016, we have been building governance systems to minimize the negative impact of tourism in decarbonization efforts, waste reduction and energy conservation, which are gaining attention in Japan. . Since 2019, it has been working to ensure the quality of tourists visiting the region by regularly checking the life satisfaction of tourists and locals.

Additionally, it encourages businesses in the region to actively adopt sustainable practices. Specifically, it recommends obtaining an eco-label called GOOD TRAVEL SEAL. GOOD TRAVEL SEAL is an eco-label that can be used by both small and medium-sized businesses and family-run accommodation facilities. Taiwan’s sustainable tourism is being piloted in the region, and several operators have already obtained it.

Winner of the Best Community and Culture category, What is Valgheda in the Spanish interior?

Next, I want to look at the efforts of Valgheda, located in the interior of Catalonia, Spain. In 2018, it was declared a sustainable destination by Biosphere Responsible Tourism, a biosphere-friendly and responsible tourism certification body, and since 2019, it has been selected as one of the “World’s 100 Sustainable Tourism Destinations”. Like the Northeast Taiwan and Yilan Coast National Scenic Area and Kamaishi before it, it won the Best Community and Culture category at the 2020 Sustainable Destination Awards.

Valgheda is one of the most progressive sustainable tourist areas in Spain, 1 hour from Barcelona and 30 minutes from the French border, with a population of around 40,000. Agriculture, ranching and forestry thrive, often combined with tourism.

Valgheda aims to be a sustainable region in all areas, not just tourism. For example, it is known for implementing the first door-to-door collection of solid waste in Catalonia (since 2018). As mentioned in the article “Why Tokushima Hotel”, Kamikatsu Town, Tokushima Prefecture, which aims at zero waste, has a recycling rate of 80% and a recycling rate of 80%.

In addition, in the field of transportation closely related to tourism, it is said that it has been working on building a slow traffic network. There are already 2,000 kilometers of walking and cycling paths, encouraging tourists and locals to use eco-friendly transport.

In addition, buses operate cheaply in almost all regions, and in small villages where regular bus service is difficult, a service called “transport on demand” is common. The service allows the use of low-cost taxis from villages to the main town’s bus terminal.

5 Things Vargheda Tourism Board Must Say to Tourists

The Vargheda Tourist Board is also appealing to tourists who wish to explore the area through its website and other means. How to Stay While Respecting Varghada’s Life is presented below.

・Move responsibly
Use your own car less and make up the trail at the end of your trip. We recommend that you use public transport whenever possible. If this is not possible, please walk, cycle, horseback ride or take public transport once you enter Valgheda.

little effort makes a big difference
While staying in Valgheda, take advantage of businesses and local institutions with certified environmental commitments.
As a consumer, you have a lot of influence over your decisions. Whenever possible, this means choosing tour companies and accommodations that have environmental certifications (such as Biosphere) and are committed to sustainability.

・ Minimize resource consumption and protect the environment
Since 2018, Vargheda has been working on selective garbage collection (on-site). As a visitor to this land, it is your responsibility to participate in proper waste separation for recycling.

Foodie delights from farm to table
Buy and consume traditional products from regions that have preserved their own recipes. We (Tourism Vargheda) are fortunate to be in an area that produces seasonal and eco-friendly produce such as organic meats, grains, pulses, potatoes and vegetables. We showcase organic growers who represent serenity, simplicity and a truly healthy lifestyle. You can enjoy a culinary experience of the region and even visit the facilities of local producers.

・Return to the happiness brought by Balgheda
If your stay in Valgheda gave you a moment of enjoyment, ask guides, accommodation, shops, tourist offices, etc. about local organizations and efforts to preserve and restore natural and cultural heritage. By turning your feelings into donations, even just a little, you can help improve the area.

A mindset shift from quantity to quality so as not to become a tourism-dry country

There are many people who are skeptical about participating in a global framework, saying, “In Japan, we are working on sustainable development with a logic different from that of Europe and the United States.” In addition to Kamaishi City in Kyoto City, Niseko Town in Miura Peninsula, and Shirakawa Village in Okinawa Prefecture, the participation of counties in the Top 100 Sustainable Development Destinations is of great significance.

As mentioned in “Tourism Revitalization”, Noto Shigeyoshi, former director of Japan’s Finland Tourism Agency and now CEO of Foresight Marketing Co., Ltd., stated that “the position of suppliers who have not made sustainable efforts in the European tourism industry is not good. Doing business visibly became an essential thing to survive.” In other words, a comprehensive sustainability approach is critical to ensuring economic sustainability.

If Japan wants not to become a “tourism-drained country”, it must change the traditional “quality” way of thinking that pursues “quantity”, that is, the number of tourists. Arguably, this has become even more pronounced due to the onset of the corona catastrophe.

Of course, it is not necessary to use the framework of Europe and the United States, but it is wrong to say that “the situation in Japan and Europe and the United States is different”. ‘It is necessary to look at what should be done from a broader perspective while keeping a close eye on the above six initiatives in the Japanese region and the global trends presented in this article.

(Author: Keisuke Murayama)

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