Instead of just going to the beautiful beaches and the famous shopping destinations, Guam would like to entice the Japanese tourists visiting their island to drop by the numerous wartime memorial sites around the territory. Governor Eddie Calvo says that history is such a big part of their identity, having been a former Japanese territory and now part of the United States.
Private tour guides, officials and even residents are all part of the government’s concerted effort to encourage the tourists to visit the Pacific Island’s historical sites. They have been holding war memorial ceremonies at these sites since the start of July in order to bring the message of forgiveness and peace. It’s also part of Calvo’s administration’s plans to renovate and repair a lot of these sites. He believes that when tourists, especially those from the Asia-Pacific region, find out more about their history, they gain a deeper appreciation of the island and its people, as well as building closer ties wherever they may come from.
Japan has been Guam’s largest source of tourists for the past few years, even more than all the other nationalities who visit the island combined. Fears that a tragic incident last February, where a local citizen stabbed three Japanese tourists to death, would affect the number of tourists going in were apparently unfounded. Japan is still number one, with South Korea, Taiwan and the US following in numbers of tourist arrivals. While there was indeed a huge anti-Japanese sentiment on the island soon after World War II, Calvo said that time eventually healed their wounds. Since the 60s, because Pan American Airlines started offering trips to and from Japan, tourists began to flock to their island and have been one of the primary sources of their economy.
[via Japan Times]