|Communicating the attractions of Sera nationwide and worldwide! Start from the Michino-eki to create a unique Sera community!|
With a decrease in tourists due to COVID-19, what has saved the local specialties? Here are the actions taken by the Sera Town Sightseeing Association, the operator of the Michi-no-eki Sera, one of the top-ranked facilities for customer satisfaction in Japan
New strategy emerged from Michi-no-eki
Interviewer： As the number of tourists dropped due to COVID-19, I imagine Sera Town was also affected. What actions did Michi-no-eki Sera, the center for tourism in Sera Town, take in response?
Mr. NISHIHARA：As the mood of avoiding going out spread, visitors to our Michi-no-eki began to decrease. Then the products that were supposed to be sold at the Michi-no-eki had nowhere to go. With a strong determination to save them, we opened our online shop at an early stage with the cooperation of the members. We also worked to make the premium tickets, which are usually promoted for tourists, available to the local residents of the town.
Ties not only for sales of things
Interviewer： Have these initiatives brought you any new findings or gains?
Mr. NISHIHARA：By using the online shop as a tool to transmit information, we were able to communicate the attractions of Sera broadly. In the past, we offered our products only to those who visited Sera. But by using the Web, we can not only wait for customers but also transmit information to customers, and can deliver our products to customers all around Japan and the world. By avoiding having the products remain in Sera and selling them broadly afield, we were also able to reduce food loss. We have established new ties with a wide range of people. This has broadened the possibility that they will visit Sera to know more about its attractions in the future. We strongly hope they will come to Sera Town after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Love for local town deepened in the “with-Corona” era
Interviewer： What is most important for Michi-no-eki Sera? And what is the role of a Michi-no-eki in a “with-Corona” society?
Mr. NISHIHARA：Thanks to the support of many local people, the numbers of visitors and sales have constantly increased over the past five years since the opening. Being thankful to everyone who is related to Sera, in the past and the future, is the most important. A Michi-no-eki cannot exist without the cooperation of the local people. We will continue to operate our online shop in cooperation with local people and make efforts to improve the shop, such as by introducing local food ingredients and enhancing the stores by having them sell fresh products directly from the producers. So, the role of a Michi-no-eki is to contribute to local communities by serving as a place to connect tourists with local people.
Sera Town Sightseeing Association
2402-1 kawajiri, Sera-cho, Sera
General Manager：NISHIHARA Atsushi
We conducted interviews!
MIYATA Naho（Yasuda Women’s University）：We could connect to producers!
MAEKUBO Kanako（Hiroshima Jogakuin University）：Enjoy the attractions of Sera at home!
ISHIZU Koyuki（Yasuda Women’s University）：A model of tourism with Corona
Comment from editor
Michi-no-eki Sera has created a new role of a Michi-no-eki beyond the conventional concept. We were impressed that this new role also contributes to promoting the development of local communities, which is the conventional role of a Michi-no-eki. From the perspective of the SDGs, collaboration between the tourism association and producers leads to the maintenance of the local economy and the revitalization of the entire region, with an increase in the number of repeat visitors who are attracted by Sera, making it a town that people want to visit, and even a town they want to live in.