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    Tuesday, April 24, 2018-12:59:25P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Guam leveraging Instagram for Japanese visitor market

HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — Intent on recapturing the Japanese market, the Guam Visitors Bureau invited a social media expert from the country to share her experiences in carving a niche in the Instagram tourist sector.

Rika Fujii, director of Mitsubachiworks Inc., spoke before GVB members on Tuesday during a quarterly membership meeting.

Fujii also serves as editor-in-chief of GENIC Magazine and GENIC Web, a Japan-based lifestyle magazine which features social media photos from around the world by various Instagram content purveyors.

GVB President and CEO Nathan Denight said Fujii’s presentation connects with #InstaGuam, the bureau’s new Visit Guam 2018 campaign.

Fujii, speaking through a translator, said Instagram has become the trend in travel magazine photography.

She also described the evolution of Japanese modes of travel, from the basic 1.0 to the current 3.0 model. Fujii said 1.0 basically involves choosing a travel package, personally registering at a travel agency counter, arriving at the destination, and participating in a packaged tour.

Rika Fujii, director of Mitsubachiworks Inc. and editor-in-chief of GENIC Magazine and GENIC Web, holds up a sample of their publication during a Guam Visitors Bureau quarterly membership meeting on March 13. Photo by Louella Losinio
Rika Fujii, director of Mitsubachiworks Inc. and editor-in-chief of GENIC Magazine and GENIC Web, holds up a sample of their publication during a Guam Visitors Bureau quarterly membership meeting on March 13. Photo by Louella Losinio

The second mode, 2.0, involves travelers planning their vacation after getting inspiration from a print travel magazine. At times, 2.0 travelers plan their tour once they reach their destination.

In comparison, the current 3.0 mode can be described as “smartphone travel,” according to Fujii. Most activities are done online, from booking airline reservations to searching for accommodations, and making transportation arrangements.

Most importantly, Fujii said the 3.0 traveler segment also uses Instagram as one of the first sources of travel information, aside from word-of-mouth sites. She said many Japanese travelers collect Instagram photos of their preferred destinations.

When it comes to preferred photos, Fujii said, travelers look at posts by popular travel Instagrammers and globe-trotter accounts, as well as trending topics.

For their magazine, she said they are focused more on global rather than Japan-centric photos. Fujii said the trend leans toward content that “dives into the scenery,” or promotes a travel lifestyle.

Recognizing the marketing potential of social media, Denight encouraged bureau members to be up-to-date with current platforms.

GVB launched the #InstaGuam campaign in January. After making the announcement, Denight said the theme promotes Guam as an instant destination from major cities in this region while encouraging local residents and visitors to create their own story-driven content through social media.

During the membership meeting, Denight said around 1.54 million visitors visited the island in 2017, making it a historic year for the local tourism industry.

However, recent data from GVB showed a further erosion of Guam’s Japanese visitor market, which in 2017 decreased by 16.8 percent, or 125,133 fewer Japanese tourists, compared with 2016.

Japanese tourists now make up just 40 percent of total visitor arrivals to Guam, compared with 80 percent of the market about a decade ago. Guam saw 620,547 Japanese tourists last year.

Denight said the bureau is intent on recapturing the Japanese market as well as strengthening the growing Korean visitor market. With Japan Airlines offering a second daily flight to Guam from Narita beginning March 25, he described the announcement as a big win for the industry.