International Dark-sky Association
sustainable tourism development
In recent years, astro-tourism has started to attract an increasing number of tourists, both internationally and domestically in Japan. Astro-tourism is defined as an activity where people travel from their place of residence with a purpose to watch beautiful starry sky and celestial bodies. Despite its growing popularity in Japan, however, academic studies on astro-tourism are limited. The purpose of this paper is therefore to conduct a review of the English language research on astro-tourism and build a framework for future research for this field of research in Japan. As a result of the analysis, four key areas of research were identified: (i) astro-tourism research has been indirectly mentioned by astronomers since the 2000s; (ii) case studies of astro-tourism research tend to be studies in sites where there are international observatories or are certificated by the International Dark-sky Association (IDA); (iii) astro-tourism research has been gradually increasing in the international tourism literature since 2010; and (iv) the subject of astro-tourism research occupies dark place. Based on this review, we argue it is necessary to begin astro-tourism research from the perspective of tourism studies in Japan.