DISASTER INFORMATION PROVISION FOR INTERNATIONAL TOURISTS USING AN INTERPRETER APPLICATION
Free (open access)
103 - 116
With its new tourism-focus, Japan has been encouraging an increase in foreign tourists; consequently, over the past eight years, foreign tourist numbers have slowly been growing toward the 2020 target of 40 million. However, as Japan is a natural disaster-prone country, foreign tourists are often present when natural disasters occur, at which times they attempt to find information on the internet, often without success. It has been reported that while most foreign tourists seek information from the staff at their accommodation, many small-to-medium-sized tourist facilities in Japan have few employees who can speak foreign languages. Translation AI applications are now being widely used by travelers, with the author having been involved in a collaboration with several companies to develop a sophisticated interpreter application for smartphones that can handle one-to-many and multilingual translations. Therefore, based on the Tourism Crisis Management Plan, this study examined the use of this application to provide information to foreign tourists during a simulated disaster at an amusement park. The simulation was found to be extremely effective, and revealed that foreign tourist disaster information needed to account for the international differences in legal systems, disaster experiences, natural predispositions, lifestyles and cultures, and needed to provide plain language information on: (1) what was happening, (2) the disaster progression, and (3) the actions to be taken.
disaster response simulation, foreign tourists, interpretation app, tourism crisis management, amusement park