Tourists' Disruptive Behavior in GionCan Smartphone Push Notices Improve Manners?
A large-scale operation for encouraging good manners via smartphone push notifications will be held for 70 days from September 30 to December 8, around the Hanamikoji-dori area on the southern side of Gion-cho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, where there has been an increasing amount of trouble due to tourists' unmannerly behavior. Surveillance cameras will be used to compare the amount of troublesome behavior before and after the operation to evaluate its effectiveness. Additionally, Wi-Fi sensors set up at four locations will be used to better comprehend the actual number of visitors and duration they are there.
The operation will be carried out by the Kyoto City Government using the projects run by the Kinki District Transport Bureau and Japan Tourism Agency of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. The local council for the southern part of Gion-cho had requested countermeasures to halt the harassment tea houses and Maiko and Geiko, or geisha and apprentice geisha, have been suffering.
As tourists approach the said district, push notifications will be automatically displayed on their smartphones. The notifications warn against taking photos of Geiko or Maiko without consent, blocking the street while walking, sitting on the low fences around the walls of traditional townhouses, or trespassing on private property.
The notifications appear on smartphones lent free-of-charge by accommodations in Kyoto, and on units that have a map app for foreign tourists in Japan installed. As there are 5,750 free-of-charge smartphones available, reportedly, notifications can be sent to approximately 40,000 smartphones over the 70 days.
Moreover, every weekday from September 30 to November 24, four patrols with English or Chinese speakers will walk around the area to warn people whose behavior is causing a nuisance.
For evaluation purposes, the incidences of troublesome behavior will be counted for one to several days before and during the operation using surveillance cameras installed on Hanamikoji-dori Street near Shijo-dori Street. Questionnaires will also be distributed to local inhabitants and tourists before and after the operation. The Kyoto City Tourism MICE Promotion Section said, "We want to know what is effective to resolve the issue of bad manners."(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)