Dr. Kumi Kato is a Professor at the Faculty of Tourism/Graduate School of Tourism, Wakayama University and a special appointed professor at Musashino University, Japan. She also has a visiting professorship at the Asian Institute of Tourism, University of the Philippines, and advisory role at organizations including the Sustainable Tourism Promotion Center, APTEC (UNWTO Japan), Osaka University, and Global Himalayan Expeditions India. Kumi has been leading the national project to implement the Japan Sustainable Tourism Standard for Destinations (JSTS-D), a standard that was developed during 2019 based on the GSTC Criteria and a global research project she chaired. She also served as a site auditor for the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Award.
Kumi is a passionate advocate for sustainability in community development, education, and research, working with a wide range of stakeholders. Major works include disaster recovery and community resilience (community heritage restoration in Fukushima evacuation zones); traditional ecological knowledge of women (women divers’ ecological knowledge; ethics of whaling communities); slow and wellness-focused tourism (pilgrimage tourism). Besides academic publications, her work includes creative outputs such as public art installation, documentaries, and performances. She believes in creative inspirations and community power in promoting sustainability. Prior to her return to Japan in 2008, Kumi taught in Australia for 24 years in various capacities including a lecturer at the University of Queensland and Griffith University. Based in Japan, she is committed to promoting sustainable tourism locally, regionally, and globally.