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Masaru Takayama founded and chairs the first ecolodge association in the world since 2003, Japan Ecolodge Association (http://www.japan-ecolodge.org/), to promote and disseminate the concepts of ecotourism and ecolodge uniting responsible tourism, environmentally-sound design and materials. The association headquarters in Kyoto, a city known for its UN Protocol, proudly works with nationwide members trying to achieve the world standards in both environmental and financial sustainability. Its ecolodge member countries comprise Japan, Australia, U.S.A., Thailand, Malaysia, Mongolia, Costa Rica, and Brazil.
Masaru has extensive working experience in the energy conservation and eco-products for green accommodations in two of the most technologically advanced countries, U.S.A and Japan. Currently working as an independent ecolodge/ecotourism consultant and a certified energy conservation advisor under Japanese national energy conservation program, Masaru tries to apply his knowledge to the existing accommodations to improve sustainability and reduce energy consumption while increasing the level of welfare in neighboring communities.
Masaru also serves as a board member of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES)( http://www.ecotourism.org/) and an advisory member of forthcoming Global Ecotourism Conference 2007 in Oslo (http://www.ecotourismglobalconference.org/), playing a major role in the promotion of global ecotourism especially in Asia Pacific to conserve nature, culture, history and other important local assets with a tool of ecolodge. Working knowledge in English and Spanish also helps Masaru to further interweave the ecotourism network and has enabled to speak on behalf of the organizations in countries of Japan, China, ROC(Taiwan), Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Australia, Belarus, Costa Rica etc.
Development of ecolodges in Japan and the expectation of Japanese eco-tourists in respect of ecotourism sites and accommodation.
Small and medium sized nature-based lodges are making efforts to accommodate booming ecotourists in Japan and from its neighboring countries while minimizing environmental impacts and maximizing profit by retrofitting with readily available state-of-art lighting, air-conditioning, and green building materials. Mainstream Japanese ecotourists are not purists as they are yet to be fully detached from mass tourism and their expectations still prioritize price, food, comfort, and shopping before ecology. The biggest concern is to prevent green washing and misuse of the word ‘ecotourism of the travel industry. However, there are emerging environmentally-conscious travelers following slow food and LOHAS movements especially between 20s and 40s. This demanding group will be the next generation of Japanese ecotourists. Utilizing case studies in Japan, this topical issue will provide the audience with an opportunity to get some ideas for ecotourism operators and ecolodge owners.
Japan Ecolodge Association
Casa Verde Takatsuji 901,
Shimogyoku, Kyoto 6008425
Phone: 81 – 75 344 5254
Fax: 81 – 75 344 0515