On the 15th of November the Kumano Symposium ～Sharing Kumano with the World～ was held by the Tanabe City ATA Association as a part of their Kumano International Destination Guide Project.
Tanabe City ATA Association will offer 7 training sessions from December 2009 to March 2010 for those who are interested in becoming an English guide for foreign tourists.
ATA stands for “Area Tourism Agency,” which is a Japanese comparable institution to DMC “Destination Management Company.”
Tanabe City ATA Association was established in August 2008 with Wakayama prefecture, Tanabe City, Tanabe Chamber of Commerce and Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau under the common purpose to develop Kumano as an International Tourism Destination.
The symposium started off with the Tanabe City mayor’s greeting speech, and then Brad Towle, Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau’s International Tourism Promotion and Development Director, made a presentation titled “Kumano, an International Perspective—the Importance and Value of Local Guides”. This presentation introduced the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau along with outlining reasons for the need to develop local human resources.
A panel discussion about the future of “Kumano as an accessible tourism destination” was held with experts from different fields. The session was moderated by Kazuo Takahashi, a Marketing and Distribution Sciences University professor. Brad Towle, Tim Detmar (who runs and English conversation school in Shingu City), Jiro Shimoyama (the president of Mihatenuyume corporation), and Harumi Kusumoto (the chair person of NPO Mi・Kumano were joined as panelists. They exchanged opinions from their different point of view during the session.
Since the World Heritage registration of the Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range, more people have become aware of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes leading to an increase in foreign independent tourists in Kumano.
The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau believes that supporting the local population is an integral part of creating a sustainable tourism destination.
7 English Kumano Guide lectures will be held. Details are listed below.
13th Dec●Kumano general information in Japanese and Kumano Mandara Exposition in English
10th Jan●Kumano Kodo Kan, Learning Kumano Kodo from Takijiri-oji to Chikatsuyu-oji in English
24th Jan●Studying the Kumano Kodo from Chikatsuyu-oji to Hosshinmon-oji in English
7th Feb ●Studying the Kumano Kodo from Hosshinmon-oji to Oyunohara in English
21st Feb ●On-site learning: safety and risk management
7th Mar ●Practical training on site
21st Mar ●Commencement