Our research investigated how to balance ocean-oriented island culture and materialist tourist industry development while our society moves into the pandemic era. Lanyu, where indigenous people reside, has an abundance of the Tao tribe's ocean-centered culture. However, tourism brings many problems, especially an overwhelming amount of garbage, environmental damage, and socio-cultural value-related issues. From 2018 to 2020, we participated in a blockchain-based local currency trial named the Tao Coins and ID passports experiment, led by a technological company that interacted with key local persons and grassroots conservation organizations. Based on a participatory process and qualitative research methods, including interviews and environmental observations, we developed the small-island eco-tourism research project of the Lanyu. We present the initial stage of the Tao Coin trial in this paper that consists of four sections. First, we introduce the background of Lanyu Island and the Tao tribe's cultural landscape. Secondly, we elaborate on the tourism crisis of Lanyu Island. Tourists, with their garbage, and the marine waste flooding in the surrounding ocean have burdened the ecological system of Lanyu Island. Thirdly, we investigate the flying fish sharing systems within the Tao cultural practice including boat-building teams, fishing groups, and the egalitarian distribution of fish. Fourthly, we explain the Tao Coin experiment initiated by a blockchain-based IT company. The goal of the Tao Coin, originally, was to call for tourists' environmental awareness. In conclusion, we analyze how the Tao Coin experiment failed through the perspective of the Tao's sharing culture system. We found that, from the aspect of "sharing," although the social system of sharing with the Tao has changed a lot, it still exists in different forms. The Tao Coin is a distinct way to build the value of "sharing."
Resilience theory has increasingly been adapted to the literature associated with nature-based tourism, including wildlife tourism. The present study draws on a case of free-ranging rabbits inhabiting Ōkunoshima Island in Hiroshima, Japan. In particular, the study discusses how an alien species became a popular tourist attraction and challenged the existing and widely accepted conservation-based wildlife tourism management by incorporating resilience thinking in the context of social change. Ōkunoshima Island has transformed drastically over the last 70 years. During World War II, it was a military base for producing poisonous gases. In 1960, the island was designated as the National Vacation Village to promote tourism; for decades, it was a recreational and educational site for visitors to learn about the island's wartime history. A major shift in the island's tourism industry occurred in 2015 when its exposure to social media resulted in a growing number of domestic and international tourists. Since then, the island's rabbits have become its primary tourism resource and attraction, attracting not only the largest number of tourists ever but also a fair share of challenges. In addition to the internationalization of tourist profiles, the types of tourists that visit the island has been altered. The growing popularity of rabbit tourism has over-crowded the island. Furthermore, tourists want to feed the rabbits, resulting in the rabbits' dependence on human food handouts and overpopulation. Problems associated with the proliferation of rabbits require the destination's managers to intervene. However, the rabbits' status as an alien species has complicated the decision- making process. In favor of being adaptive to social change, this study argues that the destination management policy needs to rethink the concept of alien species and to look beyond the conventional conservation approach.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has tested the resilience of communities worldwide in both urban and rural areas. This paper studies community resilience on a small island town in the Seto Inland Sea as part of a broader study on rural revitalization in contemporary Japan. Rural Japan not only faces challenges due to COVID-19, but various other pressing issues associated with an aging and declining population. Drawing on an ethnographic approach with combined physical and virtual fieldwork in the form of original interviews the study sheds light on creative responses of individuals in a small island community. In comparison to urban areas, small businesses in rural areas are thriving and demonstrate their own forms of resilience often relying on strong social networks, the ability to reinvent business models and diversifying income streams. In times of crisis and disaster, new ideas are born and together with financial support from the town, there has been a range of new initiatives and projects that have been made possible during COVID-19. The pandemic revealed positive examples of how Japanese society in rural areas can be creative and resilient. Findings show that most of the residents did not feel there was much change or disruption to their daily life. Businesses who were impacted were mostly those that catered to tourists such as guest houses and tour guides. Small businesses have managed to thrive not only due to funding from the town in form of subsidies but the creative responses from individuals including migrants from outside the island who bring with them diverse skill sets and high levels of social capital. Swift responses include the transition to mobile sales, utilizing technology and SNS in conjunction, and the provision of "third places" in the form of publicly accessible spaces for exchange. Such responses have been helpful for the island community to adapt to a new normal during the pandemic.
Tourism development in the Balearic Islands underlines intense regional and local debate. The archipelago's strong specialization in tourism, in what is essentially a tourism monoculture, has led to tensions and converging political interests in its territorial protection. As a result, spatial and tourism planning regulations have been developed to safeguard the Balearics' natural spaces and to limit building development, tourist beds, extensions to infrastructure and the commodification of housing as holiday rentals. The hypothesis posed in this paper is that Balearic tourism is moving from a mass tourism model to a gentrified safe haven for investors and for the affluent. Based on a case study of the archipelago, a presentation is given of the geographical characteristics and socioenvironmental conflicts that might explain how calls for the islands' protection have been instrumental in bringing about processes of social segregation. The paper concludes by considering the challenges to be faced and possible alternative opportunities.