Ruth and JI Core 50 member Steven Liu (Taiwan)
traveled to Amami Oshima to offer advice and feedback and to hold two seminars on welcoming international visitors.
Amami has seen growth from 4 visitors to 14 visitors each day over the last two years and in addition to many visitors from Taiwan, the group from New Zealand, Europe, Australia, and the Americas, is also on the rise. With over 100 participants at two events, Ruth and Steven were able to share knowledge on how to make international visitors feel welcome. We explained the concept of our 1,2,3 Tourism Theory in that visitors can be divided into three groups. Once this thought process is acquired, the effort to welcome guests can be tweaked in an effective way. Steven and Ruth emphasized that knowing your strengths and how to express them is the first and most important step (before the change).
First, try to better explain and present what you already have to the new visitors and later tweak things to make services easier to use after you better understand their needs.
Steven was also able to share his perspective on points that he thinks visitors from Taiwan would like about Amami Oshima. One key and a surprising point we learned from him is that visitors from Taiwan appreciate that the mountains and sea are close together. Ruth and Steven were also able to assist by appearing in a radio broadcast and in both local newspapers. Amami Oshima is truly a special place and we hope people who have been to Okinawa many times, might try this lovely destination next.