I posted some time ago about the Hoshinoya Resort on Taketomi Island, and the locals’ fear that “resort(s) could consume the entire island, like a wave crashing upon it.” The resort has since been completed and opened; I haven’t heard much about the impact, but I remain not optimistic.
Then, a year ago, I was excited to see the Yaeyamas featured in American Airlines’ magazine (of all the places in the world they could have chosen), but the way the magazine is just a total tool of the tourism industry is so disgustingly obvious…
I sent them an email, criticizing their recommendation of the Hoshinoya Resort, which promises to overwhelm, irrevocably alter, and damage in various ways the small island of Taketomi, known as one of the greatest “traditional culture” destinations in the country, and the private B&B business of the small local community. To my surprise, the editor emailed me back almost immediately, promising to “balance” the story next time, by also including the B&Bs. I retorted that advertising the resort and the B&Bs is not “balance” and that the proper thing to do would be to advertise the island’s traditional culture appeal & B&Bs, and to denounce the resort for the threat it poses to all of that.
I’m not sure what else to say right now… I’m hoping to visit Okinawa again next September, and to hopefully squeeze in a visit to Taketomi as well. With any luck, the island’s local and traditional character won’t be too irrevocably ruined yet.