Guide System and Guide Groups
One of the Oki Islands UNESCO Global Geopark’s characteristic features is the ability to experience and understand the three main themes of the geopark, lifestyle and traditions, unique ecosystem, and geohistory.
The Oki Islands UNESCO Global Geopark boasts over one-hundred geosites which connect the three main themes together. Therefore, we seek to recruit “Oki Islands UNESCO Global Geopark Guides”, guides who not only introduce Oki’s famous sights, but also tell the story of Oki through connections between lifestyle and traditions, unique ecosystem, and geohistory to first-time visitors. We are currently conducting periodic guide training and recruitment.
Certified Foreign Language Geopark Guide Training Course
In 2019, the Oki Islands UNESCO Global Geopark Promotion Committee planned and held the first foreign language guide training course, a project entrusted to the geopark by the Oki Islands Tourism Association. The course develops geopark guides who can utilize foreign language skills to introduce the charm of the Oki Islands, explaining the local history, geography, culture, nature, the stories of the geopark, and how to spend time on the islands. The aim is to further promote tourism and improve the satisfaction of visitors from other countries.
The first training course had a total of 10 participants, including both Japanese and non-Japanese residents living in the Oki Islands, working in industries such as tourism. Guide languages included English, French, German, and others.
Certified Geopark Guide System
In order to expand the geopark-related knowledge of guides in the Oki Islands, the Oki Islands UNESCO Global Geopark established a Certified Guide System in 2015. Training courses are offered at the Intermediate, Advanced, and Master levels, and participants who pass the examination qualify to register as certified guides. Once a guide reaches a certain level of practical experience, he or she can submit an application to be recognized as an Oki Islands UNESCO Global Geopark Certified Guide. Since implementation in 2015 through the present (Dec. 2019), three Intermediate Guide training courses have been held. We will consider holding an Advanced Guide training course as the guides’ proficiency increases.
Number of Registered Guides (as of Dec. 2019)
• Intermediate Guides: 21
The Oki Islands Geopark Strategic Committee
A new public support commission charged with operating core geopark functions and human resources development was established in 2011-2012, while the Oki Islands Geopark was aiming toward certification as a Global Geopark. The Strategic Committee was later dissolved in order to become a legal entity, and in 2016, Oki Geopark Tour Desk (General Incorporated Association) was established.
Oki Geopark Guide Club
The Oki Geopark Guide Club was founded in January 2012 leading towards certification as a Global Geopark, with the goals of increasing coordination among guides and improving guide training. The founder, Kouji Yawata, is an obsidian specialist who has been conducting research in Oki since before the Geopark initiative.
At present, we have a geopark guide certification system in place and are considering reorganizing the Guide Club as an organization of certified guides.