Kiribati to promote 80th commemoration of WWII in 2023


A coastal gun that’s a relic of the World War II Battle of Tarawa. (TAK)

As Kiribati concluded the commemoration of the 79th anniversary of World War II on the islands of Butaritari and Betio in South Tarawa, the Tourism Authority of Kiribati said that many untold stories about these historical events in 1943 makes Kiribati an intriguing island destination for battlefield tours.

TAK chief executive officer Petero Manufolau made the comments following the final commemoration of World War II event at the Japan and Korean memorial monuments in Tabon Takoronga on Betio, South Tarawa.

“[While] most of what we know about these historical World War II events are documented,” Manufolau said, “first-hand accounts of survivors on the islands of Tarawa and Butaritari offer a fascinating and emotional journey into what was a significant part of the island destination’s history.”

To share the many untold, undocumented, and undiscovered remnants of World War II in Kiribati, TAK will begin work to develop “relive and re-discover Kiribati WWll packages” for the 80th anniversary celebrations in November 2023.

Through its engagement with the U.S., Japan, and Korea on battlefield tours and war relics preservation, TAK will collaborate with local stakeholders and international World War II travel and tour operators to develop and promote battlefield tour products in Kiribati.

Manufolau said the Kiribati WWll 80th anniversary in 2023 “will be an excellent opportunity for families and relatives of U.S, Japanesem and Korean servicemen whose lives were lost in Tarawa and Butaritari to visit Kiribati to honor their memories. …Such a visit will also allow relatives to connect with I-Kiribati people who have become custodians and guides of the remains of their loved ones on these islands.”

Visitors to Kiribati can enjoy World War ll guided tours in Tarawa and Butaritari with trained guides and historians. (PR)

Press Release
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