One of the World’s 42 Pioneers

Gifu Prefecture among 42 Pioneers in Global Sustainable Tourism Destinations.

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One of the World’s 42 Pioneers

The 2023 UNWTO International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) Global Meeting held at the UNWTO headquarters in Madrid, Spain from November 21st to 23rd, assembled members and related organizations met in person and discussed the vital roles of governance, participatory approaches, and timely data in advancing sustainability in tourism destinations.
 Throughout the two-day conference, observatories exhibited their efforts in various measurement areas, including local satisfaction levels, destination carrying capacity, and environmental and social impacts of tourism. The underlying principle of “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” resonated across presentations, illustrating the importance of data-driven, evidence-based approaches in shaping policy decisions and transforming the tourism sector.

The inclusion of Gifu Prefecture as a new member of the network marked a significant milestone for Japan within INSTO. Joining alongside Cali in the Valle de Cauca in Colombia, the Centro de Portugal, and the Atlantic Coast of Ireland, the expansion brought INSTO’s global membership to 42 destinations. This integration reflects a growing recognition of the critical importance of sustainable tourism practices worldwide.

Gifu’s participation in the INSTO network signifies a transformative step for Japan’s tourism industry. It marks the beginning of a new era where data and analytics play a pivotal role in decision-making processes. The insights gathered from Gifu’s observatory will not only influence local policies but also provide a model for other prefectures in Japan to follow. This initiative is expected to lead to more targeted and effective strategies in managing tourism impacts, and balancing economic growth with environmental conservation and cultural preservation.

Managed by Gifu Prefecture’s Department of Tourism and International Affairs, the Gifu Sustainable Tourism Observatory will assess tourism impacts across 11 mandatory areas. Additionally, the Observatory has introduced ‘Cultural Preservation’ and ‘Conservation of Natural Environment’ as unique monitoring fields. As Japan’s first observatory, Gifu’s area of monitoring spans 10,621 square kilometers, about 2.8% of Japan’s total land area, setting a new precedent in the country’s approach to sustainable tourism.

The Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) envisions Japan as a nation that excels both as a tourist destination and as a place to live. Gifu Prefecture’s endeavor aligns seamlessly with this vision. By systematically monitoring and analyzing tourism data, Gifu aims to create a sustainable model that ensures long-term benefits for both the local community and visitors. This approach is anticipated to enhance the quality of the tourism experience, promote regional attractions, and safeguard natural and cultural resources.

Furthermore, Gifu’s involvement in INSTO paves the way for collaborative efforts with other member destinations. Sharing best practices, learning from diverse experiences, and engaging in international dialogue are expected to strengthen Japan’s position in the global tourism sector. These interactions will foster innovation, encouraging other Japanese regions to adopt similar sustainable practices and contribute to a broader transformation in the industry.

In summary, Gifu Prefecture’s entry into the INSTO network has significant meaning for Japan’s tourism sector. It represents a commitment to sustainable tourism principles, a dedication to data-driven policymaking, and a new chapter in Japan’s journey towards being a nation that is “good to live in and visit”. The insights and practices developed here will undoubtedly inspire and influence sustainable tourism strategies both within Japan and around the world.