Free course helps workers, industry meet tourists' needs

SHOPPING: Tourists walk around Pleasure Island in Tumon in this October 2018 photograph. The Guam Visitors Bureau reported a rebound in arrivals from Japan for October compared to last year. With the growing market, the Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association, in partnership with tourism industry organizations, is offering training courses to meet the demands of the sector. Post file photo.

For those wanting to learn skills that could help them get a head start or move up in the tourism industry, there's a Japanese customer service and etiquette training course being offered for free.

The course is designed to teach service providers on Japanese tourist customers' expectations and cultural differences relative to customer service and hospitality standards, according to a news release from the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association.

"The course is useful for anyone who assists, communicates or deals with Japanese tourist customers," the release states.

For years, with Japan's economic slowdown, tourism numbers fell dramatically. However, last year, the Guam Visitors Bureau started showing growth in the Japan tourism numbers.

In October 2018, there were 43,013 Japanese visitors, which showed a 24.7% increase over October 2017, when 34,489 came to Guam. The growth has continued, according to GVB.

The most recent GVB numbers show that in June, the Japan market continues to recover with 41,027 visitors recorded. That's a 14.8% increase from last June.

In response to the growing market's needs, GHRA and its members have been working to revamp the service industry with training and workshops such as this customer service and etiquette course, which is being offered by the Japan Guam Travel Association CHS Committee and presented by Toshie Ito, Motiva Training & Consulting – a member of GHRA.

The course will cover practical skills such as "20 things that can turn off Japanese customers" and "How to effectively communicate in English with Japanese who do not speak English fluently."

Deadline to register is Aug. 31 and there's a max capacity at 80 participants.

For more information, contact Hirokazu Aoki at aoki.hirokazu@his-world.com, Shuichi Kanamori at kanamori@guamsanko.com, or Hitoshi Hori at hori@ntaguam.com.

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