Since the beginning of the 1990s, field work conducted in the course of my research on ecotourism has taken me everywhere from the Galapagos and Fiji Islands to the islands of Iriomote and Minami Daito. A decade or so ago, designing tours was a matter of designing and producing tour tools such as posters and pamphlets to attract tourists. Designs were considered to be good if they were beautiful and visually appealing.
In the field of ecotourism, my specialty, tour tools should of course be visually attractive. At the same time, however, tour design must take into consideration preservation of local resources and revitalization of local communities. This involves a two-part approach, first drafting a tourism plan that can be promoted mainly by local residents, and then applying the plan to the actual design.
To revitalize a local community, we first conduct research to discover tourism resources that can be shown to visitors with pride. In the world of ecotourism, this particular kind of field work is known as a “Treasure Hunting Program”.
When implementing this program, it is important to visit the actual place yourself, and communicate with the people there to discover what “treasures” they are proud of before incorporating this information in an original plan. The next step is to make prospective tourists aware of the plan through such means as pamphlets, posters, special events and symposiums.
Through experience gained from “treasure hunting” over a period of four years, students of tourism design at our department unconsciously develop a broad range of skills and talents.
At the Tourism Design Department of the Kyoto Saga University of Arts, while honing their ability to create expressive designs, we help students to construct reality through extensive field work and develop their sensitivity as designers. Our aim is to foster a producer’s point of view in each student so that they may eventually become designers or directors capable of starting their own projects.
This is the reason why graduates of all our tourism design course seminars are said to be so outstandingly competent when working in the field. It is something that makes me feel extremely proud.
Music: From “Sore wa Minna no Takaramono”
by Minamino Kazebito Machan Band