Guam – The Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) has partnered with the San Diego Chapter of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and Che’lu Inc., for a product seminar on March 17 aimed at sharing the latest Guam offerings with travel agents in San Diego.
Che’lu Inc., a nonprofit organization comprised of Chamorros living on the West Coast, also used the opportunity to unveil a hand-built traditional Sakman made by Master Carver Mario Borja and a small crew over the past year.
“This event gave us an opportunity to share information about Guam’s visitor industry with San Diego travel agents, and an opportunity to highlight our culture with two organizations that really embody the Chamorro spirit,” said GVB Marketing Manager Pilar Laguaña, who managed the product seminar with then-GVB General Manager Gerald S.A. Perez and Marketing Officer Gina Kono. “We were really able to give these industry representatives a taste of our island and its culture thanks to the cooperative partnership with the PATA San Diego Chapter and Che’lu Inc.”
Guest speakers at the event included Perez; Barbara Bryant, PATA North America regional director; Sandy P. Everett of Continental Airlines (United); and Rear Adm. William D. French, commander of U.S. Navy Region Southwest.
The highlight of the afternoon was the unveiling of Borja’s Sakman, a massive canoe modeled after those used by ancient Chamorros for transportation and trade among neighboring Marianas Islands. A recipient of the Governor of Guam’s prestigious Guahan Award, Borja is an active member in the San Diego Chamorro community.
Continental Airlines provided two round-trip tickets to Guam for a raffle to end the seminar. PATA San Diego Chapter Chairman Lisa Koon was selected as the winner.
GVB representatives were on the West Coast for the L.A. Times Travel & Adventure Show from March 19-20.
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San Diego area travel agents meet with GVB representatives, members of Che’lu Inc., and PATA San Diego Chapter representatives in front of a hand-carved traditional Sakman at the Guam Product Seminar in San Diego on March 17.