Guam Delegation Leads Japan Travel Mission

Lieutenant Governor Joshua Tenorio, on behalf of the Office of the Governor of Guam, joined the Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) in leading a Japan Travel Mission to Tokyo on May 8 – 11, 2024 to bolster Guam’s commitment to Haneda and the Japanese market.  The mission follows the recent commencement of the new Guam-Haneda flight by United Airlines on May 1. 

Lt. Governor Tenorio and GVB was joined by Members of the 37th Guam Legislature, Mayors Council of Guam, CNMI Government, and local Guam media for the events, bringing a combined effort and a “One Marianas” spirit to support relations with Japan.  GVB President & CEO Carl T.C. Gutierrez and his management and staff in Guam and Japan called upon the Lt. Governor to support the mission and invited a conglomerate to include Senator Tina Muna-Barnes, Senator Telo Taitague, Mayor Anthony Chargualaf, CNMI Senators Celina Babauta and Donald Manglona, CNMI House of Representatives Floor Leader Edwin Propst and Representative John Paul Sablan, Rota Mayor Aubry Hocog, and Tinian & Aguiguan Mayor Edwin Aldan.  Also in attendance were Guam International Airport Authority (GIAA) Deputy Executive Manager Artemio “Ricky” Hernandez, GIAA Marketing Administrator Rolenda Faasuamalie, GIAA Marketing Coordinator Elfrie Koshiba, Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency (CQA) Director Ike Peredo and CQA Captain Frank Taitague.   

The mission began with a Haneda trade seminar and industry mixer on Thursday at Azabudai Hills hosted by United Airlines and GVB to showcase the new route and all that Guam has to offer to over 80 agencies and industry partners.  The delegation had the opportunity to discuss strategies on building the travel market and meet key players in the industry, including keynote speaker Ken Kiriyama, United’s Director of Japan and Micronesia Sales.  In turn, travel agencies were able to learn more about Guam and the Marianas Islands through the visiting delegates.

GVB President & CEO Carl T.C. Gutierrez and United Airlines Director of Japan and Micronesia Sales Ken Kiriyama make a toast to the new Haneda-Guam route.

On Friday, the delegation was given a firsthand tour of Haneda Airport, which is a part of Tokyo International Air Terminal Corporation, before branching off into groups to pay visits to Chiyoda and Kashiwa cities.  Guam has built sister-city relationships with these cities and aimed to learn about travel trends, sports, senior activities, culture, and receive feedback on the rebuilding of tourism and student exchange programs to Guam and the CNMI. 

Finally, GVB hosted a reception at the Happo-en Garden on Friday evening to commemorate the inauguration.  Sharing in the celebration was award-winning Chairman & CEO Isao Takashiro and his executive team at Japan Airport Terminal Co., Ltd (JATCO), operator of the Haneda Airport.  Top Japan travel agency H.I.S. Tours’ Executive Officer Kozo Arita, KEN Hotel & Resort Holdings, Ltd. Chairman Shigeru Sato, United Airlines’ Kiriyama and multiple industry executives also attended the event.

Lt. Governor of Guam Joshua Tenorio greets Haneda Airport Chairman & CEO Isao Takashiro

Lt. Governor Tenorio thanked Takashiro and Kiriyama saying, “Thank you very much.”

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The event featured the CHamoru culture through music and dance by cultural dance instructor Asami and her students from Japan, who closed out the event with a unique version of “O Saina” in both Chamoru and Japanese. 

Haneda Opening Ceremony

“What you’re seeing here tonight is not just about corporate profits, it’s about brotherhood…trusting one another that it’s not all about money, but about the friendship and what we have to put together between Guam, Northern Marianas, and Japan,” Gutierrez said in his reception speech.  The gratitude and reference to partnership inspired a formal bow from Arita standing ovation and victory handshake from Takashiro. 

Plans to further develop the Haneda route with additional flights and connections to the CNMI were discussed along with a new marketing strategy to promote Guam and the CNMI together as “One Marianas.”

SEEN IN MAIN IMAGE: Lt. Governor Joshua Tenorio and GVB President & CEO Carl T.C. Gutierrez with industry executives at the Haneda Opening Reception in Tokyo. – image courtesy of GVB

About the author

Linda Hohnholz