Academic journal article Journal of International Business Research

Historical Ties and Cultural Connections between Guam and Chichijima: Implications for Tourism

Academic journal article Journal of International Business Research

Historical Ties and Cultural Connections between Guam and Chichijima: Implications for Tourism

Article excerpt


Properly planned strategy can help target marketing efforts that have the potential to produce desired results for tourist destinations. Strategy using cultural and historical ties between destinations can be an effective way to increase tourism and to enhance the touristic experience. The popular Japanese tourist destination of Guam has little known but strong ties with Chichijima, one of the Bonin Islands, as today's Ogasawara Islands were called in the U.S. Chichijima was once inhabited largely by whalers from Hawai'i (in 1830), and had as its first Chief Magistrate an individual named Nathaniel Savory who hailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts . Savory and his frequent visits to Guam, as well as his marriage to a woman from Guam, have had an effect on life in Chichijima. Later, large numbers of Japanese began relocating to the island in the Meiji period and today the Japanese Ogasawara islands are politically a part of Tokyo. Although this is little known outside of Chichijima, many of the residents of Chichijima have blood ties with Guam, hold Japanese citizenship and have last names such as Savory, Washington, and Adams from the early settlers of whalers. A recent anthropological study (Konishi 2005) has also traced many of the Ogasawara Islands dances to the Marianas. Guam has the opportunity to capitalize on these ties to create a greater interest in the historical links between Guam and Japan, as well as sister-island relationship with Chichijima, which has become a popular diving and ecotourism destination for Japanese from the mainland. A strategy integrating the unique ties Guam has to its major source market, such as the ones mentioned above, could provide the type of competitive edge over other destinations that will be difficult to duplicate.


The motivation and reason for travelling, particularly to international destinations, have changed over the years. In addition, people travelling for leisure have a variety of destinations to choose from, with places competing against other places for tourism revenue. Differentiation is critical for destinations. Without it they will either become places of status or commodities, and when a place becomes a commodity, it can easily be substituted (Gilbert, 1990). King (2006) stated 'the more homogeneous our world becomes, the need to counter or balance this through tourism is increasing," (p. 106) while Plog (2000) has written about the increasing sameness of most destinations around the world, due to the effects of globalization.

We can say that the modern world has all but destroyed the opportunity for travelers to experience attractions that are truly unique. There has been a standardization of facilities that has enabled mass tourism by providing travelers with necessary familiarity, as expressed by Cohen (1972):

"As a result, countries become interchangeable in the tourist's mind. Whether he is looking for good beaches, restful forests, or old cities, it becomes relatively unimportant to him where these happen to be

found" (p. 172).

Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) need to enhance and differentiate their products by emphasizing their uniqueness. Destination marketers often adopt a mass tourism orientation with a desire to maintain a steady flow of visitors over the years. Among managers in DMOs, there is the false belief that tourism products can grow indefinitely. As a result, we frequently see the emphasis of generic characteristics of destinations in all marketing campaigns as they attempt to attract too many target markets. For tropical island destinations, we see sun and sea dominate the promotion while other long haul destinations emphasize the exotic. Visitors today are no longer interested in the generic characteristics emphasized by so many DMOs. It is increasingly evident that new-sophisticated consumers seek authentic and unique experiences (Buhalis 2000: 17).

For many small island territories or nations, especially for those making up the Micronesian islands, they share a number of challenging tourism issues. …

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