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Abstract

The objective of this study is to verify the feasibility of standardizing tour guide activities and the introduction of a tour guide certification system in the Shirakami Mountain Range, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Japan. We are interested in verifying the assertion in a previous study that differences in opinions between part-time guides and full-time guides would be prohibitive for local authorities to introduce a tour guide certification system. To achieve this objective, we prepared a questionnaire for tour guides currently operating in the region, so that we could record their ways of thinking about tourism activities and a guide certification system. The results were analyzed by various factors, including participants’ employment status – full-time and part-time – which was alleged to be a critical issue in a previous official report by the central government, as well as gender, age, educational level and binary logistic regression. The results of the analysis revealed both similarities and differences in the ways these two groups thought about their activities and the idea of a guide certification system. This study revealed many similarities, as well as a few differences. Part-time guides had a positive attitude toward their own skill development and the introduction of a certification system, enabling policymakers to embrace their differences over tourism policy recommendations for the successful introduction of a guide certification system.

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