Domestic travel is a new trend all over the world and we too have been putting emphasis on domestic travel, or as we call it “microtourism”. In recent years, travel had been associated with trips afar or abroad and “microtourism” is a great way of travel that balances the local economy with minimum impact on the spread of the virus. Here, we have the details about our efforts as well as the results of our actions and we hope this can lead to new ideas for the travel industry as well as an entry point for future guests, once border restrictions are lifted for everyone.
What is “microtourism”
It’s easy to go sightseeing when you are in holiday or travel mode but we never get around to sightseeing around home, thinking that we will come to it “soon enough”. At Hoshino Resorts, “microtourism” is defined as a small trip or short travel, where it is a way to invite people to visit and tour around a place only 1 to 2 hours by car from home. There is always something new to discover and relaxation can also be brought to you whilst staying close to home, where we will always feel safe.
3 charateristics of microtourism
1) A way of tourism that balances the local economy with minimum impact on the spread of the virus. The premise in tourism during the withcorona era is that “tourism does not contribute to the spread of infection”. We believe that “microtourism” as a way of travel fits perfectly with the demand that is imposed on us such that it does not require long-distance travel, the value of an experience alters with each season, and the high possibility of repeat visits. During a time where the spread of the virus cannot be predicted, it is important to promote “microtourism” between nearby prefectures with low risk of infection. Rather than restricting the movement between prefectures nationwide, neighboring prefectures should cooperate with each other by sharing the latest information on infection and making judgments based on a smaller area. “Microtourism” will minimize the impact on the economy as well as the spread of infection nationwide whilst keeping up with the demand for travel. Hoshino Resorts will continue to promote unique experiences to locals.
2) Learning from the area and rediscovering your area! At each property operated by Hoshino Resorts, we value stays where the charms of each region such as the festivals, traditional local culture, nature, and meals using seasonal ingredients, can be experienced. For example, we started a farm at Tomamu in the hopes to bring back the original landscape of Hokkaido, HOSHINOYA Kyoto inherits the tradition of Kyoto through its design, and all properties of the KAI brand has activities related to regional cultures and signature rooms inspired from the regional craft culture. Through “microtourism”, we hope that the local people can rediscover and fall in love with the characteristics of the area they are from or in. We will continue to present various projects to become an intimate place of accommodation.
3) Strengthening connections with local creators and enhance management capabilities At Hoshino Resorts, we have made every effort to understand the situation of local creators who are facing challenges due to the outbreak of the virus and have begun efforts to contribute as a hotel management company. Our efforts include collaborating with farms to tackle food loss of milk through creation, production, distribution of milk jams, and Nebuta (giant paper floats resembling famous historical or mythological Japanese characters) artists who lost their chance to show their creation. We would like to overcome this time through the culture that was developed from the regions, and the process of creation/production whilst deepening our connection with the local people.
Results of “Microtourism”
At each property operated by Hoshino Resorts, there has been a focus on “microtourism” since June, which was after the end of the state of emergency. In addition to avoiding the Three Cs (close contact, confined spaces, and crowded places), we reviewed our service and designed ways of travel for local people.
Below is a report on the results of our efforts, including real examples.
Shift from international to local guests
About half of the guests at HOSHINOYA Kyoto, operated in Arashiyama, were international guests. Through “microtourism” with the theme of “a day to experience Kyoto culture in Oku-Arashiyama”, the percentage of local guests from the Kinki area grew from below 10 percent to nearly 40 percent and the occupancy was about 80 percent.
A hot spring ryokan (Japanese inn) familiar to the locals
At KAI Enshu, in Shizuoka Prefecture, the charms of tea had been proposed at various touchpoints during the stay such as tea baths and tea fields. As a result, about 60 percent of guests were from the local, Chubu area and the overall occupancy rate exceeded 90 percent.
We will continue to create and promote new ways of travel so do not miss out on the different projects that are yet to come.