Project Presentation with Jiya and Win interviews
Awaji Island is home to some of the most unique attractions within Japan. However, Awaji has only recently begun to attract inbound tourists, and is still largely unknown to the non-Japanese visitor. The Travel Awaji team aims to shape international tourism on Awaji Island and display its appeal to new audiences. The project includes taking part in activities such as providing business plans for local restaurants, establishing online/offline travel platforms, and building new communities. These practices are the first steps to promoting Awaji Island as a multilingual and international destination that we believe it should be.
In addition to this introduction, we have had the privilege to spend time with Jiya and Win, the two leading minds behind Travel Awaji, to have their views on Awaji island and why they want to develop the tourism industry in Awaji.
Which aspect of Awaji Island struck you the most when you first arrived?
Jiya (J): The friendliness of local people. Especially at bus stops.
Win (W): Yes exactly!
J: Anywhere you go, they will not hesitate to talk to you. Just say hello and they will talk with you for hours!
W: One thing that I would also like to add is that Awaji has many scenic spots where you can simply stare at the horizon and enjoy spectacular views of the ocean. In Japan, it’s usually pretty rare because of the mountains.
J: Yeah, the road along the coast is really beautiful, especially during a sunset.
Having lived on Awaji Island for some time now and working with Mr. Lloyd on the Awaji Travel project, where do you think lies Awaji’s biggest potential?
W: Awaji island has a lot of potential in terms of tourism. It has a lot of beaches and natural attractions such as hiking, forests and onsens. It definitely has the potential to grow as big as a place like Arashima. Due to its location, one of Awaji Island’s assets is that it’s a nice place to establish a local business. You will find that many of the local residents are outgoing people who might be willing to help you connect and get started.
J: I agree, I think that these are some of the keys to promoting Awaji Island. I see it as a hidden treasure for those who want to experience life outside the city. I think that Awaji is a nice place worth settling into since it is rather quiet and surrounded by nature. Awaji has a huge potential and space for new businesses that could create more diverse opportunities for those seeking local employment.
How do you see your endeavor having a positive impact on the local communities?
J: We hope that by improving the infrastructure of Awaji Island and by strengthening local networks, we can consequently build the story of Awaji into a more complete package for inbound tourists and connect them with local attractions.
W: We also want to contribute with our international perspectives as foreigners and help diversify Awaji Island’s businesses, systems, and facilities so that it can become more prepared for today’s traveling market.