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International travelers to Japan increased from 8.6 million in 2010 to just shy of 32 million in 2019. Then came 2020. Now, with the pandemic reducing international tourism to near zero, what’s next for Japan’s travel industry?

Our guest today is Alex Kerr, best known for his books “Lost Japan” and “Dogs and Demons.” Through his work in Shikoku’s Iya Valley and Kyoto’s teahouse districts, Alex has become one of the country’s pioneers of new models of heritage-based and sustainable tourism.

In this episode we’ll be discussing what a sustainable future for Japan’s tourism could look like, and whether COVID-19 offers a space to reflect and reimagine the industry, or whether the country will regress to old habits and unsustainable practices as soon as it’s over.

Read more:

On this episode:

Alex Kerr: Chiiori Trust | Website
Oscar Boyd: Twitter | Articles | Instagram

Finding the Heart Sutra

Alex Kerr’s new book “Finding the Heart Sutra” will be published Nov. 26, 2020, by Penguin. This book brings together Buddhist teaching, talks with friends and mentors, and acute cultural insights to probe the universe of thought contained within the “Heart Sutra.”


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