During their visit to Guam from February 4-7, 2023, the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) Chairman, Hiroyuki Takahashi, and 8 board members conveyed this message to Acting Governor Josh Tenorio and the Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB).
Guam is anticipated to receive over 130,000 Japanese visitors for Fiscal Year 2023. While those projections are conservative, the renewed commitment by JATA and Guam’s airline partners to promote Guam makes the return of the Japan market very promising. Guam is looking to see an overall increase in arrivals by the end of the fiscal year with 670,000 visitors (+104% from FY22) with airlines and travel agents working alongside GVB to encourage outbound travel.
Acting Governor Josh Tenorio meets with JATA board members during their courtesy visit at Government House.
“The return of the Japan market is promising and was clearly underscored in our meetings with JATA leadership this past week,” said Acting Governor Josh Tenorio. “We are reassured by their commitment to prioritizing Guam and the work being done on their end to restore Japan arrivals to pre-pandemic levels. With a strong push for increased flights as well as programs and educational campaigns, we are optimistic for the next big wave of tourism to reach our shores from the Japan market.”
JATA board members meet with Acting Governor Josh Tenorio and the GVB Japan team at Government House.
Aggressive recovery anticipated for Guam
In addition to Acting Governor Tenorio, JATA officials met with Consul-General of Japan Toshiyaki Kobayashi and held their first overseas executive board meeting, which has not been held since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Takahashi reinforced his organization’s commitment that Guam is being prioritized as one of the US destinations they will continue to promote for various tourism programs and campaigns.
“There are still several challenges ahead of us, such as a weaker yen, higher travel cost, soaring commodity prices in each destination, and the typical Japanese mentality of cautiousness about safety and security,” said JATA Chairman Takahashi. “Even though the speed of recovery for overseas travel in Japan has been slightly slower than we initially expected, we, JATA, will lead the recovery of Japan’s overseas travel market in order to achieve a rapid recovery in the number of travelers to Guam in cooperation with the Guam Visitors Bureau and its members.”
Acting Governor Joshua Tenorio, members of the Japan Association of Travel Agents board, and Guam Visitors Bureau take a group photo. (L-R: Tadao Nishio, JALPAK Ltd; Yuji Hara, Kaze Travel Co. Ltd; Hiroyuki Takahashi, JTB Corp; Acting Governor Josh Tenorio; Regina Nedlic, GVB; and Tadashi Shimura, JATA. (Second L-R:) Shino Mikamo, Finn Corp; Manabu Kiyomiya, Nihombashiyumeya Co. Ltd; Atsushi Sakai, Hankyu Travel International Co. Ltd; Nobuhisa Fukuda, ATI Inc.; and Masaki Watanabe, JATA; (Last row:) Ryoko Mannen, Veltra Corp.; Nobuhito Yatabe, Yusen Travel Co. Ltd; Shoichi Nagayoshi, JATA; Shigeharu Nishizawa, IACE Travel Corp; Atsushi Yamanobe, HIS Co Ltd; and Koji Ikehata, JATA.)
Return of JAL flights, student market on the table
The JATA board will look into developing the once-thriving Japanese student market for Guam, airline partnerships to include the return of flights from Japan Airlines in the spring, and sustainable development goals. They also spoke about travel restrictions in Japan lifting further on May 8, which would downgrade COVID-19 to be on the same level as the seasonal cold and flu.
“We thank JATA for deciding to visit us and having their board meeting on Guam. Along with Governor Lou Leon Guerrero and Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio, we warmly welcomed Board Chairman Takahashi and the rest of the JATA board and feel their visit will gain good attention to help boost Guam’s tourism industry,” said GVB President & CEO Carl T.C. Gutierrez. “Our long-standing partnership with JATA to develop and grow the Japan market is evident through the last several decades as they also seek to improve the quality of services for travelers to and from Japan. We look forward to their continued partnership as we both work toward the full recovery of tourism in our respective destinations.”
(L-R) JATA President Tadashi Shimura, JATA Chairman Hiroyuki Takahashi, Governor Lou Leon Guerrero, First Gentleman Jeff Cook, GVB Board Chairman Milton Morinaga and GVB President & CEO Carl T.C. Gutierrez take a group photo at the welcome reception for the JATA board at Dusit Thani Resort Guam.
JATA is the association sanctioned by the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism in Japan. The organization contributes to the development of the travel and tourism industry through a variety of activities including disseminating information, encouraging cooperation among members, and promoting the development of businesses and legislation that will benefit the membership and the industry at large.