Experience-oriented tourism summit, Preparations proceeding for Hokkaido hosting, Some voice concerns

Model tour in Toyako Town

The international “Adventure Travel” (AT) summit focusing on experience-oriented tourism will be held in Hokkaido in September of next year, marking the first time for AT to open in an Asian country. Preparations for the summit, including planning tours for participants, are proceeding. AT is extremely popular in the West, and tourist industry operatives expect it to ignite “After Corona” Hokkaido tourism. However, there are also concerns being voiced about holding this summit in Hokkaido amidst the continuing global spread of the novel coronavirus.
In mid-November, a model tour for tourist industry operatives was held in central Hokkaido’s Toyako Town by organizers including the Hokkaido District Transport Bureau. A female Toya-Usu Volcano Meister shows old photographs and points to how the old national highway warped in undulating waves in the 2000 eruption of the Usu Volcatno. Sounds of surprise can be heard from the participants.
To get to the old national highway, walkers must descend a steep slope separated from the Crater Walking Trail, and currently the only visits to this area are school field trips and the like. However, this spot is popular with the local guides, who report, “Visitors can get a visceral sense of how the earth moves.” The Transport Bureau, etc., wants to use next year as an opportunity to open general tour paths, including this area.
In normal years, the summit usually hosts about 800 travel agency and media staffers from several dozen countries. Visitors usually participate in tours given in accompaniment with the summit, offered on a day-trip scale to a week-long tour length. And the visitors usually consider commercializing the tour options they experience.
In a time slot lasting up to November, the planning committee deliberated on tour plans sent in by travel agencies, and selected about fifty tours given in various locations around Hokkaido. The planning committee plans to consult with the American sponsoring organization and decide on the official tour details next spring. AT tends to be popular in affluent circles, and its related market scale is large.
However, this year’s summit in Australia, originally planned for October, was canceled due to the coronavirus. A source connected with the planning committee reported, “We have no other choice than to proceed with preparations assuming the summit will open up as planned.”