The Community Project is helping the communities of two small neighbouring, rural valleys on the picturesque Kunisaki Peninsula in Oita Prefecture in Kyushu maintain their society and environment with the long-term vision of providing the area with a sustainable and viable future. The Community Project complements our tours, which primarily visit lesser-known regions throughout Japan and impact local communities in positive and sustainable ways by being composed of small-groups that use family-run business, such as inns and restaurants, and, whenever practical, public transport.
Our tours bring beneficial economic and social aspects to many declining, rural regions of Japan. Our Community Project is doing the same in a concentrated fashion in Kunisaki and shows in very tangible ways the efforts we are making to fulfil our responsibilities to wider society as a business entity and for our staff as individuals.
Since it was established in 2007, the Community Project has made significant progress by:
- Providing much needed local employment;
- Undertaking farming and forestry, which are both in decline due to an ageing and declining workforce;
- Refurbishing empty properties to provide them with new leases of life as accommodation and offices;
- Maintaining communal land such as parks, which were otherwise uncared for;
- Creating and sponsoring community events; and,
- Encouraging visitors both Japanese and from overseas to the area. Of course, we also bring some of our customers on tour here and there is a constant flow of staff from our other offices in Japan and around the world.
- Some of our staff and others, attracted by our activities, have settled locally;
- A couple of newcomers have established their own business;
- Greater numbers of staff employed in our offices in Kunisaki has led to greater spending at local businesses, increased tax revenue for the local government and an increase in the enrolment of children attending the local school;
- A more positive outlook and greater enthusiasm amongst locals to do more for their themselves.