Thank-you for clearing up the matter. And apologies if I upset anyone with my wild speculations.
I do however hope that the seeds for a bigger vision for this area in terms of town planning/zoning, promotion and open dialogue have been planted.
Maybe NPB can take the leading role in changing the current situation.
Unless someone steps in soon, a great opportunity will be lost to make this place a legitimate "world class" destination.
Currently about 5 separate companies run the ski hills, the area is governed between two town offices, promotion is done by a mix of gov't and private businesses. This summer 2 events clashed cos of no unified promotion. There are no requirements for the big developers to provide commercial space (that I am aware of.)Transportation within the village and to outlying areas is inadequate. The list does go on and on...
To just simply say "this is Japan, don't upset the wa" at this stage is a total cop-out. Too much money has been invested in this area, the number of foreign land and business owners must be the highest outside of the 5 big cities in Japan. Billions and billions of yen has been generated for the local and prefectual economies because of international tourism to this area.
To assume the tourists will keep coming here purely for the mythical "15m" of snow a season is arrogant, short sighted and doomed for failure. (How many tourists who came here last March got any of that powder?) Tourists are a fickle bunch.
Dream time.....dream deep time
I know a lot of domestic tour companies are a closed shop but Japanese consumer tastes are changing and maybe this is where NPB can step in to bridge the cultural divide.
125 million people live in this country, most who love to shop.
Foreign businesses struggle to attract this market, even in summer. Give the Japanese a better reason to stay, not just fly through. Build a giant outlet mall, with some green space and hey presto instant crowds.
Luxury accommodation, outdoor activities and hen na gaijin to stare at. Hell if I was 65 living in Osaka I'd love to come up here for the cool summer, wander around a beautifully planned town, shop at the mall, eat at a restaurant serving weird foreign food, practise my highschool english on random big noses, it would be unlike anything else in Japan, it would be S for Subarashii yo!
What a great place, the mountain, local towns and businesses put aside their short sighted self-interest,personal grudges, greed and even their egos.
They actually talked to each other about something other than how big their bank accounts were, how many new developments they have sold, how many houses they are building, how many customers they have staying, how great their new car is, where they are going heliskiing next, and how terrible the exchange rates are.
Dream dream, dream,
They all got together and said "hey, we actually don't have a long term vision, we thought if we just kept building "luxury" apartments and selling them the people would keep coming. We didn't realise that the snow might not always be great and winter is only 1 of four seasons. We didn't think we had a moral obligation to our customers, employees and local residents to provide a sustainable future. We didn't think that maybe we should susidise commercial space or protect green space, offer tax breaks. Implement zoning so bars are not next to someones accommodation. After all we thought the 15m of snow was the only thing people wanted. We didn't realise that we had no clue about alpine resorts, and really we should have employed private and government consultants from other world ski resorts who have been through the same processes, survived and made the transition from a singluar season destination to a four season destination.
So they all got together, the mountain, local towns business leaders, petitioned the prefectual govt to designate Niseko as a special tourist area, not unlike other world resorts. This generated unprecedented domestic public interest in the area. Niseko was suddenly a buzz word for 125 million people, domestic summer bookings and applications for new luxury apartments went through the roof. The tax breaks enabled retailers to set up shops and provide alternatives to skiing. The new zoning laws moved the bars, nightclubs restuarants to a centralised area, and it was a pumping party time "Booty on steroids". It became a matter of prestige for the big Japanese retailer to have a shop in the new "special tourist zone". The mountain opened up all previously forbidden areas, because they started doing proper avalanche control work, money coming into the area was distributed to the mountain to put in new lifts, open up new areas, even a highspeed monorail from moiwa to hanazono to kutchan was put in. Money flowed into the area and was parceled out to both Niseko-cho and Kutchan-cho. No cleaning public toilets for the locals like in Yubari. International visitors raved about the services and amenties, shopping, Niseko had it all, and the skiing was alright as well if you bothered to come in winter, which most people didn't anymore because this was one hellva summer town, rooftop beer gardens, late night dance clubs and discounted retail shopping cos of the no consumption tax, tax breaks the retailers got. The world recession that killed most other international tourist destinations passed totally unnoticed in Niseko as 90% of visitors were domestic.
Everyone was a winner, The Hokkaido prefectual govt had once again shown its pioneering spirit and other prefectures looked on in envy. the Kutchan and Niseko local town coffers were overflowing, the local business leaders were richer than ever. Niseko was an even more awesome place to live and I kept my job........what a dream.
"There is nothing like a dream to create the future." Victor Hugo
"No employer today is independent of those about him. He cannot succeed alone, no matter how great his ability or capital. Business today is more than ever a question of cooperation.” Orison Swett Marden