COMMUNITY-BASED TOURISM IN RURAL JAPAN: THE CASE OF A NETWORK-MAKING NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
Free (open access)
11 - 19
This paper investigates community-based rural tourism development by focussing on the roles of a network-making non-profit organization (NPO) in Miyagi in northern Japan. The study took a case study approach in examining the Kurihara Tourism Network (KTN), which is an NPO engaging in rural tourism activity. First, we conceptually classified the types of community-based tourism. Second, the features of the KTN activities and what roles the KTN played were empirically clarified. Results revealed that KTN connects people in the local community through formulating original tourism programs by taking advantage of their authentic rural and food heritage. To realize their aim, firstly the KTN took a holistic approach in establishing tourism programs rather than a fragmentary approach, which has been popular among rural experience programs that provide only popular experience menus such as planting and harvesting. Secondly, the KTN mobilized dying heritage and skills embedded in the life of the local people, which easily enabled local residents to participate as instructors. Thus, these KTN policies created new social capital in the community and created a new network or recreated what used be in a modern way. Finally, the challenging issues that the KTN face are to raise financial viability and more efficient program management.
community-based tourism, rural tourism, social capital, rural heritage, local food