Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University



UNWTO and JICA Join APU to Conduct Tourism Symposium


Feb 13, 2019

BEPPU – APU hosted a tourism symposium together with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on January 12. Entitled “Community Development and Revitalization through Tourism,” the symposium featured five speakers discussing trends in tourism worldwide and within Japan.

Scholars from Hiroshima Univeristy, Kobe University, the Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, Kyushu University, Rikkyo University, and Wakayama University attended the event along with APU students and faculty. The talks focused on the need for sustainable tourism initiatives, presenting research on Japanese regional efforts to renew local communities through tourism.

The symposium highlighted two interconnected trends: the increase of inbound tourism to Japan, and the challenges facing Japanese rural communities. Japanese inbound tourism has increased significantly, growing from over 8 million visitors in 2012 to over 26 million in 2018 according to Japanese government figures. Meanwhile, domestic communities outside of urban areas are facing aging and declining populations. While most inbound tourism is focused in popular destinations such as Tokyo and Osaka, more regions are looking to take advantage of the greater number of international tourists in order to spur community development.

APU recently became the first university to join the Ministry of the Environment’s Official National Parks Partnership Program. APU students and faculty will research and develop tourism boosting initiatives in the nearby Aso-Kuju National Park. APU supports tourism research and field studies in multiple regions across Japan and the world.

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