The above article does indeed bring up very important issues for travellers, tour conductors, tourists hosts, tourism promotion, and areas like Shikoku hoping to increase levels of tourists to their areas.
Of course we can all agree that behaving rudely in a foreign country is not a good thing to do. Most visitors to this site are people who have had cross-cultural experiences, either abroad or at home, and who are by nature good hosts and good guests.
There are those among us, however, and we see them in airports and places where there are large concentrations of tourists, where belligerent, stupid, and gross behaviours can be witnessed. We see them and we think to ourselves, “Man, that is a really ugly thing to see”, and then we get about our day and hope we don’t cross paths with them again.
Ugly tourism is something that Shikoku is going to see more and more of, particularly as numbers of foreign visitors increases year by year. No meeting of people from different cultures and languages coming together will be entirely friction-free. Nor should it. Sometimes it is the friction between differences that can create experience and learning, sometimes confronted with a different way of living we can both learn about others, and see something in ourselves too.
As an Inbound Tourism consultant for this region, and having the opportunity to meet regularly with hotel owners, economic board advisors, business owners, and restauranteurs, I get to hear some of the troubles that can come from ugly tourists. First, let me also put forth the caveat that most visitors to this region, and by most I mean way over 90% are great. They are kind, thoughtful, patient, cheerful, easy-going, and interested in Japan and having a great experience.
But as you know about rotten apples… they are the ones that get remembered the longest. It’s not fair, but that is how it is.
What can we do to help keep things as smooth as possible between different cultures, and how can we work best with friends and neighbours here in Shikoku? In our meetings and participation in panel discussions, the primary issue seems to be rooted in the same need.
With an increase in information, guides, handbooks, posted signs, detailed menus and maps, trained up concierge services, updated websites, and accessible emergency notices, a lot of issues can be handled. If people know the guidelines, have information that they need, get support along the way, most things go smoothly.
That is part of the mission of this site, to help with the information flow. Most travellers to Japan are solo or small group varieties. That is great, but they need access to good intel as they go along. So, if you have a site, a blog, a video, a map, or something that is cool to share about Shikoku, or any of the places within, please feel free to send me a note, or write a guest blog here.
The information we can share makes things better, and maybe together we can make something good for visitors to this fair, beautiful, and undiscovered part of Japan.
Send me your links etc to firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a great day. Travel safe.