Teshikaga Town, a town rich in nature in a national park, had experienced a sharp decline in the number of tourists since the beginning of the 2000s. Many people said that in order to rebuild the town’s “tired” economy they had to create a new attraction as a tourism destination. A mountain climbing tour should be developed at Mt. Io, also known as Atosanupuri, a volcano that has long been cherished by the local people. However, Atosanupuri had been off-limits since 2000 due to the danger of falling rocks. The resources of “Atosanupuri” were designated as a specific natural tourism resource based on the Ecotourism Promotion Law, and a unique certified guide system was established after restricting entry. A trekking tour up Atosanupuri was developed under the guidance of certified guides. A system was also established to return a portion of the tour participation fees to environmental improvement expenses. The tour won the “18th Ecotourism Grand Prize”. Local residents and elementary school students are also offered the opportunity to climb the mountain free of charge.
Keywords: mountain ; trekking ; nature conservation; guiding; local tourism; business development