You’ve probably heard of eco-vacations and sustainable resorts, but a Japanese agency is about to take the idea of green travel to an entirely new level. JTB Tokyo, a member of major travel agency JTB Group, plans to draw tourists to a volcanic island in the Philippine Sea by offering wind-powered electric vehicle rentals.
Hachijyo Island is located about 300 kilometers south of Tokyo, Japan. But before opening it up to tourists, JTB made some important upgrades: a wind turbine to harvest power from the strong ocean winds, and EV charging stations that are powered completely by electricity the turbine produces.
It’s all part of a “Scheme for Renewable Energy-Based Clean Hachijyo Island” made possible by a partnership of JTB, Hachijyo Town, and Hachijo Island Industry Promotion Association, a local non-profit organization. According to the agency’s research, Hachijo is buffeted with strong wind more than 150 days per year. Instead of allowing this to be a negative characteristic, the alliance has transformed this constant wind into a unique tourist attraction.
Combined with geothermal energy technology, the wind turbine will supply about one-third of the island’s electricity demand. Based on positive feedback from participants in an EV test driving and monitoring survey, JTB plans to proceed with the development of new environment-oriented sightseeing tours. Those not interested in driving EVs will be able to take advantage of the island’s fleet of electric bikes, available for daily rental.
JTB hopes that the success of its Hachijyo Island project will allow it to promote the combination of renewable energy and tourism to support the building of other environmentally friendly and tourism-centered towns.