The Guam Visitors Bureau will outsource its marketing operations in Japan, following the current model used for all other offices representing Guam in its source markets. “We want to be very clear. GVB Japan will remain open and active. We are simply reorganizing to be more efficient, innovative, and responsive in this modern age of tourism,” said GVB board chairman Milton Morinaga. “The Japan market is critical to Guam’s economy and GVB is a hundred percent committed to increasing the number of visitors from Japan. We have been proactive in this approach from the start. This change will help us better promote our island and better serve our stakeholders.” The GVB Japan Office opened in 1976, with a location in Tokyo and later in Osaka. The office manages travel trade sales and marketing support, as well as visitor information services. In addition, GVB has an advertising and public relations representative for consumer marketing and promotions. GVB acting Japan director Hiroshi Kaneko will continue serving the Bureau as its country manager. “We are grateful and thank the Japan staff for their many dedicated years of service to our island, and we will work to ensure a smooth transition as reorganization efforts begin,” said GVB president and CEO Nathan Denight. “We will be putting out a Request for Proposal in the near future, and our goal is to have a marketing representative in place by early 2019. ” This reorganization is part of GVB’s Japan strategic recovery plan, which includes aggressive incentive programs to increase seat capacity, and marketing campaigns to build demand through online and social media marketing.
Although Fiscal Year 2018 Japan arrivals were down due to North Korea and decreased seat capacity, GVB is projecting increased Japan arrivals in FY19 as more airlines and travel agents announce additional flight service to the island. The Bureau’s #instaGuam campaign has also been successful in encouraging user-generated content from celebrities, visitors and local residents alike, and will be continued for FY19. Meanwhile, GVB is preparing to send a Guam delegation to Tourism Expo Japan, formerly called the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) Tourism Expo, from September 20-23, 2018 at the Tokyo Big Sight. The four-day event is considered the world’s largest tourism trade fair, which attracted more than 190,000 people in 2017.