Rebun Island Tourist Association workation test tour

Jan. 9
A Kushu Lakeside Campground cottage. Participants open their computers and experiment working there

The Rebun Island Tourist Association invited experts knowledgeable about sightseeing and implemented a tour exploring the potential of workations. The project promotes the allure of working in an environment surrounded by nature and the appeal of local food, natural settings, and history. The island’s core industry of tourism is struggling in the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Association wants to introduce new styles of travel that attract tourists during slow times and entice younger targets or individual travelers.

The tour was implemented by the Rebun Island Tourist Association as a Japan Tourism Agency test project on both November 12 and 13 of 2021. The Association invited seven men and women from the 20s to 50s age groups working for Tokyo and Kochi providers and enterprises that organize workations.

Participants got hands on experience transplanting indigenous island Rebun lady’s slipper orchid seedlings at the alpine botanical garden in the northern part of the island and visited Kushu Lakeside Campground, which is expected to blossom as a teleworking hub. Cottages come furnished with items including desks and refrigerators and include a public wireless LAN “Wi-Fi” connection. Tour participants set up their own laptop computers and performed actual work to test the working environment. They also asked questions about the usage fees, etc.

The Association also used this tour as an opportunity to promote local culture. Kafuka Fishery Cooperative Executive Director Yuda Hiroaki explained in a lecture that Kafuka kelp produces a very clear soup stock and garners immensely favorable interest from the Kansai region, and participants got to try kelp processing firsthand. In addition, a curator introduced island items including ancient Jumon remains and participants enjoyed flavors of the sea for mealtime, including local atka mackerel.

Kawamura Yasuro from JMA Management Center Inc., a company that offers workation programs to major corporations, commented, “Opportunities to interact with locals and develop a deeper understanding of the history behind each spot during the workation reveals new hints for business possibilities.”

Division Head Kawamura Takeru in the Town Industry Division of the Rebun Island Tourist Association Office commented, “Amidst the trend of individual travel becoming the core preference for younger travelers, thinking of ways to attract people that do not rely solely on group tours is essential. We need to explore workstation formats that fit what Rebun Island has to offer, through efforts including refining potential targets.”

Location

Kushu Lakeside Campground

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