Guam – Chizuru Murayama was shocked when her name was called as the 1,000th person to be trained as a tour guide during the final session of the 55th Tour Guide Training class last night in the Guam Community College Student Center training room.
“I’m so surprised, I didn’t expect anything,” she said. Murayama came to Guam three years ago to work in the tourism industry, and is employed with Nippon Travel Agency. “I enjoy living here,” she said. “People are so warm and kind.”
“Murayama’s distinction is an important milestone for the industry,” said Eric Chong, GCC tour guide instructor. “These people, the tour guides, are very important to us – they represent us to our visitors.” Chong noted that in this 55th tour guide class, not only are his students Chamorro, but also Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean, and now Russian. “Their job is to convey our Chamorro culture to the visitors from their respective countries in their native languages.”
[L – R: Eric Chong and Robert Balajadia, GCC tour guide instructors; Chizuru Murayama, Nippon Travel Agency tour guide, Nathan Denight, GVB Deputy general manager, and Mike Martinez, GVB tour guide inspector, celebrate Murayama’s distinction as the 1000th tour guide trained under the Tour Guide certification class on December 5 at GCC.]
Chong teaches the course with Robert Balajadia, who imparts the Chamorro culture, history, and geography components to the trainees.
GCC and the Guam Visitors Bureau initiated the Tour Guide Training program in 1997.
Nathan Denight, GVB Deputy General Manager, noted that “tour guides are the first and last interaction and impression of our people and island left with our visitors. The Tour Guide Certification class helps us to ensure that our visitors leave Guam with a world-class cultural experience of our island, making them want to return for another visit. We thank our partners at the Guam Community College for administering the program that assists in the growth of Guam’s top economic contributor. On behalf of GVB and the tourism industry we congratulate Ms. Murayama for being the 1000th certified tour guide.”