4th Island Meeting Held on Aogashima
The Tokyo Treasure Islands Project is a project which aims to refine the Tokyo's islands brands through "Shima-Kaigi" (Island Meetings) with residents. This report covers the fourth island meeting and study tour of Aogashima held on November 26.
Looking for hints on finding fun people who will take care of the island
In the last island meeting, the participants from Aogashima reconsidered their own island and re-acknowledged the toughness of the islanders living in a closed state. The strength to do everything on their own and move forward in an inconveniently located island under harsh natural conditions is Aogashima itself.
At the end of the discussion, the persona of the ideal visitor was labeled as "someone who can have fun and respect the nature, people, and culture."
Given the passion of the participants, who want people that can understand and respect the appeal of the solitary island with picturesque sceneries they grew up in to visit, it was decided that the action plan would be a photo tour that used drones and a networking event in the mainland.
In this study tour, in addition to detailed operations, the participants will search for hints on networking with visitors to create deep relationships through actions specializing in tourism.
A conversation that digs deep on a "trip that's typical of Aogashima's picturesque views"
The first destination was the Japan Photo Tourism Organization (hereinafter, "JPTO"). The participants learned about content creation with a focus on "pictures," which is a keyword when it comes to tours using drones as well.
The mission of JPTO is to "join the powers of trips and photographs to synergize Japan, regions, and communication between people."
The organization, which handles everything from tour planning, preparation support, and the planning, creation, and execution of various promotions such as open recruitments, etc., is also cooperating with Japan's largest amateur photographer organization, Photoculture Club, and is also providing support for planning photo-tours in regions that are struggling to create fans.
In response to the participants who wished to make photographs a tourist attraction to allow visitors on Aogashima to have a substantive trip, the person in charge at JPTO said, "It's possible to develop a tour with a story," but put the brakes on the simple use of drones.
The participants agreed when he explained that those who enjoy each and every picture and those that enjoy drones are two different categories of people. Ideas were exchanged on the plan that works best for Aogashima's environment.
A decision: Using "safe and peace of mind" to think of drones and personas
Up next on the destinations was the Japan Drone Academy. Here, the participants learned about the current state of drones and hints required for creating rules.
The school, which was founded in 2016 and is accredited by the Japan UAS Industrial Development Association (JUIDA), has issued licenses to approximately 500 people. It's the most specialized school in Japan when it comes to safety and management, teaching the required knowledge and maneuvering skills required to fly drones safely, as well as knowledge on safety and law.
Aogashima has seen an increase in tourists bringing in drones. Over 20 have crashed on the island. In response to the participants who said, "The community is dense, so the mothers on the island really hate it. We want to solve it by creating our own rules," the person in charge said, "It's difficult to implement rules common in cities, such as the 30-meter flying restriction around privately-owned areas, in islands."
On the other hand, the exchange of ideas on the use of drones other than for tourism, such as measuring and confirmations during disasters, continued. The person in charge mentioned that the people who fly drones as a hobby are most likely unlicensed. The participants learned a lot on the overview and current state of licensing, and incidents involving drones at events.
Rito Kitchen: Information output challenges and space creation
Rito Kitchen, the last destination, was where participants learned about creating relevant populations.
The store, operated by the Rito Department Store, a general incorporated association based in Ama, Shimane Prefecture, is the networking point for the capital and isolated islands developed by islands from around the country with the same challenges that gather and cooperate to produce a large force for the survival of the islands.
Here, the participants asked the person in charge, who is from Oshima and facilitates an area where the culture, history, and story behind food can be enjoyed, about the overview of the company, the process of holding an event at the store, and tips on creating communities in the mainland.
Instead of suddenly going to Aogashima, the participants wanted to take an extra step by holding workshops and events to create a place to put out content on Aogashima. The participants learned detailed methods on how the establishment creates fans, such as utilizing SNS to create a space for those wishing to connect to the island, holding themed events, and continuity to create a place where local information can be obtained without actually visiting the island.
Reflecting on a day of learning and beyond
In the reflection at the end, thoughts were deepened using various hints such as creating connections, quality over quantity, people with deep and high expertise, safe drones, and autonomous rulemaking and legal things.
As a result, in order to secure the peace of mind and safety of the residents on the island and to create a foundation that makes it easy to cooperate with one another, the outlook for drones pointed in the direction of autonomous rulemaking and a safe and secure professional approach using the 20,000 people with drone licenses who can safety manage drones. The outlook on connections also pointed to signs of continuation.
The participants who voiced actions to jointly make the region better with visitors will think deeper from this initiative and prepare for the next island meeting.