Concern over Foreign Tourists' Manners – Apprentice Geisha's Kimono TornSecond Consecutive Year of Record-High Tourist Increases in Kyoto22 June 2015 - Local topics
While the number of tourists to Kyoto City has marked a record high for the second consecutive year, opinions, expressing concern about the effect of the tourist increase on citizens' lives and questioning its positive effect on the local economy, were raised one after another before the committee on economy and general affairs at the Kyoto City Assembly on June 22. The city government called for understanding, indicating efforts to improve tourists' manners and analyze the economic effect.
Assembly members also questioned the effects on the local economy
"I have heard that a foreigner put a cigarette out on the lattice of a traditional town house. I have also heard that a foreigner forcibly tried to take a photo of an apprentice geisha and tore her kimono," said Takao Hirayama, assembly member from the Liberal Democratic Party, complaining about troubles caused by the foreign tourist increase. Shigekatsu Takahata, director of Kyoto City Tourism MICE Promotion Section, said, "Complaints have been brought into the city government too." He then addressed provisions such as distributing leaflets to inform foreigners about good manners in Japan.
Yoichi Nakano, assembly member from the Minshu Miyako-Mirai Party pointed out that, "City buses on tourist routes are fully packed so local residents cannot use the buses at critical times." Director Takahata replied, "It is important to balance tourism with citizens' lives. We would like to have more in-depth policy discussions."
According to the city government, 55,640,000 tourists visited the city in 2014, which was a 7.8% increase from the record high in 2013. The number of overnight foreign visitors also jumped 62% to 1,830,000.
Although "tourism consumption," or the amount spent by tourists within the city, also reached 762.6 billion yen, or an 8.9% increase, Tomoko Kurata, assembly member from the Communist Party, asked, "Is the city government analyzing the ripple effects on the city's economy from the amount of tourism consumption?" The city government replied, "At this time, analysis has not yet been completed due to the time and cost of calculation." He further revealed a plan to publicize the value of tourism's effect on other industries such as manufacturing and commerce in the city in fiscal 2016.
As for the sharp increase in tourists, Nobumasa Nishiyama, assembly member from Komeito, said, "There are some aspects that are troublesome for ordinary citizens." He also appealed, saying, "It is necessary to provide opportunities to hear citizens' voices and conduct research so that we can work with citizens to enable the city to progress as a tourist city."(translated by Galileo, Inc.)