Guam governor joins GVB delegation to woo Japan

Posted on Sep 03 2019

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The U.S. Ambassador holds a reception for the Guam Visitors Bureau delegation last Aug. 27. From left, Jeffrey Cook, first gentleman of Guam; Joseph M. Young, interim chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy; Guam Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero; P. Sonny Ada, Guam Visitors Bureau board chairman; and Pilar Laguaña, GVB president and chief executive officer. (Contributed Photo)

TUMON, Guam—Guam Gov. Lou A. Leon Guerrero led a Guam Visitors Bureau delegation to Tokyo, Japan, in the final week of August to introduce Guam’s new leaders to Japan since she took office in February 2019.

The trip, which took place from Aug. 5 to 28, was intended to introduce Guam’s new leaders to Japan’s trade partners, express thanks to those who have invested in Guam, and possible flights to Haneda in the future.

Besides Leon Guerrero, others on the Guam delegation were GVB board chair P. Sonny Ada, GVB president and chief executive officer Pilar Laguaña, GVB vice chairman and Air Service Development Committee chair Milton Morinaga and several other key GVB board representatives.

There were meetings with the Japan Association of Travel Agents, the Japan Tourism Agency, and Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, plus a reception at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Akasaka, Tokyo.

Of the 5.6 million Japanese visitor arrivals to the United States in 2018, Guam accounted for about 17%.

U.S. Embassy interim chargé d’affaires Joseph M. Young welcomed the Guam delegation at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence.

“Guam is the gateway to the United States and a very familiar destination for Japanese people,” he said.

A highlight of the evening was the introduction of Guam’s new executive leadership and GVB’s newly contracted Japan marketing representative.

The Guam Visitors Bureau delegation meets with representatives of the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau last Aug. 26, in Tokyo. (Contributed Photo)

Leon Guerrero said it was absolutely essential for the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau to understand Guam’s “strong and very clear position that we continue to seek any opportunities to secure a slot out of Haneda airport.”

“Japan has long been an integral part of the tourism industry for our beautiful island and we must plan for a sustainable visitor economy,” she added.

Leon Guerrero said it was important to express Guam’s deep appreciation for the business that members of JATA send to Guam. Approximately 70% of Guam’s Japanese visitors are from packages sold by JATA members.

Ada said, “It is important to have our leadership express the utmost commitment to our key industry partners who are responsible for helping us sell over 830,000 seats annually. We have been able to demonstrate, that with their help, we were able to turn the market around and regain market losses experienced in the last two years. We are seeing significant movement in improving our market position because of these partners and investors.”

Guam is approximately a three-hour flight from Japan. There are currently four airlines operating 64 flights per week directly from Japan to Guam. In addition, there are 800 charter flights being scheduled in 2019.

Laguaña noted that Guam must do all it can to attract more air seat inventory and fill those seats to regain Guam’s market position in Japan. “Due to the volatile industry that we are in, we must continue to go after more air seats. We must equally ensure that our product, as a destination, is prepared to welcome our visitors and generate economic benefit for our island community.” (GVB)

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