Study visit of Japanese delegation to Sweden and Italy

Categorized as News from Asia & Australasia, News from IURC

A delegation from Kamakura, Japan visited Umeå, Sweden and Venice, Italy from 13-23 May 2022 via the IURC programme. Kamakura’s main interest in the first portion of the European visit was to see first-hand how Umeå manages the guiding of tourists and citizens toward more sustainable consumption. The second half of the trip focused on how Venice manages sustainable tourism with its large numbers of tourists, while protecting the cultural heritage sites and promoting its lesser-known destinations and attractions. The Kamakura mission was comprised of: Ms. Haruka Nishizawa—Member, Planning Division, Department of Cohesive Society and Co-Creation; Ms. Aya Oshigane—Member, Culture Division, Department of Cohesive Society and Co-Creation; Mr. Yoshifumi Akiyama—Assistant Manager, Tourism Division, The citizen disaster prevention department

Delegation arrives in Umeå, Sweden

After arriving in Sweden, Ms. Doris Grellmann, Umeå city ecologist and eco-tourism guide, along with bird expert Mr. Christer Olsson led the delegation on a guided walk in the Hässningberget nature reserve outside Umeå and taught them about the type of forest management needed for biodiversity protection. Ms. Grellmann explained about the newly formed UNESCO biosphere reserve along the Vindeln river, including parts of Umeå city.

On the second day, Vice Mayor of Umeå, Ms Janet Ågren greeted the delegation from Kamakura together with Ms Carina Aschan, Project Manager Smart City and Ms Annika Dalén, Gender Equality Officer. Ms. Jenny Lindgren, E-service Strategist talked about digitalization of municipal services. An electric public bus took the delegation to the university campus where the Innovation office of Umeå University presented how they support young innovators and creators and introduce them to different incubators. Ms. Johanna Palmlöf Brus from Visit Umeå presented the sustainable tourism efforts and how tourism services are increasingly digitalized. Ms. Barbro Renkel, CEO of creative company incubator eXpression showed the facilities available to members of eXpression and some of the products created by member innovators. She also showed the internationally renowned Umeå Institute of Design.

The final day of the Umeå visit began with Hiroyuki Umeda, President of Komatsu Forest AB, showing their new factory for production of forestry machines and talked about the management culture and life in Sweden in comparison with Japan. Ms. Märta Streijffert, project leader at Umeå showed them a restaurant named Gotthards, a key member of the Sustainable Restaurant Network coordinated by Märta. The network has published a book that is also translated into English, ”Climate & Food”.

Kamakura was inspired from the visit to Umeå in guiding tourists and citizens towards more sustainable consumption. They will renew a certification system for shops and restaurants to focus more on sustainability and make a map for consumers to encourage them to visit certified restaurants. The book ”Climate & Food” will provide good guidance for Kamakura. Umeå has included consumption-based emission targets in their climate plan and are eager to cooperate on this topic. It also connects into their work on circular economy.

Finally, everybody participated in Umecom, an activity to involve stakeholders in city development, initiated as a result of the action plan made by Umeå and Kamakura in the predecessor IUC project. The event was planned and carried out together by Ms. Ida Hillebjörk, Project Leader Umecom, City of Umeå and Mr. Kikuo Honda, Founder of Kamacon, Kamakura, invited by Umeå.

Delegation travels to Venice, Italy

The Japanese delegation headed to the Metropolitan City of Venice, where they were greeted by Ms. Lucia Fedrigoni and Ms. Marta Mereu, Officers of the Territorial Marketing and Fundraising Department and Mr. Daniele Terzariol, Deputy Mayor, San Donà di Piave. They went on to visit the glass workshops at La Fornasotta Glass factory on the island of Murano followed by a meeting with the president of the Consortium Promovetro, Mr. Luciano Gambaro. The group was met In Murano and taken care of by Mr. Matteo Tedesco, Director of the Financial Department of the Metropolitan City of Venice. Kamakura and Venice share many issues about how to maintain old crafts and traditions in balance with mass tourism.

The delegation visited the Police Headquarters where Mr. Saverio Centenaro, Delegate of the Venitian Mayor for relations with Municipalities, demonstrated the Smart Control Room where tourist flows in the old city of Venice are monitored with an aim to improve protection of the UNESCO World Hertitage of Venice and the ecosystem of the surrounding lagoon. In attendance was also Ms. Maria Teresa Maniero, Deputy Commander of the Local Police and Mr. Marco Bettini, General Director of Venis SpA (Venice Information Technology & Systems), an in-house company of Venice. This was followed by a presentation by Mr. Luca Celeghin of the Metropolitan City of Venice.

The next day was spent in neighboring San Donà di Piave, where Mr.Alberto Visentin from tour company ‘I love Piave’ took delegates on a river trip with electric boats while describing a new concept of environment friendly tourism. They then visited three small family businesses all taking part in the new tourism concept: Venetian Chocolate Shop (business museum), “Cantina Sandre” winery and Palmisano biscuits factory in Jesolo. The tour included a visit to the city hall of San Donà di Piave and a meeting with the Mayor, Mr. Andrea Cereser and a discussion on development challenges in each city.

The focus of discussions during the program in the Metropolitan City of Venice was how to manage large numbers of tourists in order to protect cultural heritage and the natural environment, and at the same time develop other, more sustainable, forms of tourism and promoting less known destinations and attractions. Kamakura found this much in tune with the kind of tourism management they would like to see in their own city. Cooperation is set to develop along those lines.