Japan Tourism Agency Joins GSTC

Japan Tourism Agency has joined the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) as a Destination Member.

The Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) is an organization that was set up in 2008 as an agency of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. It was established to serve as the hub for the Japanese government’s current work to enhance tourism-related measures towards the ultimate goal of turning Japan into a tourism nation. In addition to carrying out measures to expand international tourism exchange such as the Visit Japan Campaign, the JTA works to prepare a national environment friendly to tourist travel. This includes creating appealing tourist destinations in Japan, upgrading tourism industries to fit traveler needs, promoting training and utilization of talent in the tourism field, encouraging Japanese to take vacations, and preparing safety measures for Japanese travelers abroad.

During the GSTC 2019 Conference in the Azores, the Japan Tourism Agency announced its commitment to formally adopt GSTC criteria as part of its tourism policy. Japan has ambitious plans to increase the number of overseas tourists, but is determined to do this in a sustainable way. To that end, the adoption of the GSTC destination criteria is a major commitment and act of leadership. In 2020, a series of training workshops will be launched to drive up the level of sustainability expertise in Japan.

“Through introducing the management of appropriate tourist destinations by utilizing GSTC standards by local governments and DMOs, JTA aims to make Japan a ‘developed sustainable tourism nation’ by maximizing the economic benefits of local communities and the benefits for tourists, communities, cultural resources and the environment, and minimizing the adverse effects,” says Mr. Toshihiro Katayama, Director for Visitor Experience Improvement, Japan Tourism Agency.

“We applaud JTA for taking this important step to provide clear guidance and structure to their national approach for making tourism continuously more sustainable,” says Randy Durband, GSTC CEO. “After much careful analysis, JTA sees the value in utilizing the universal principles within the GSTC Criteria to help guide their national policies and practices. We are honored to be engaged with them.”

GSTC encourages destinations pursuing sustainability practices in development and management of tourism, to join as GSTC members and apply the GSTC Destination Criteria, which eventually can lead to being certified by a GSTC-Accredited Certification Body.