The majority of the 50 members of the Japan Marketing Committee will no longer be able to vote on committee recommendations.

The incoming chairman of the sub-committee of the Guam Visitors Bureau advised the members of his decision to reduce the group to an eight-officer board in a May 12 letter.

The letter signed by JMC Chairman Bruce E. Kloppenburg president of Kloppenburg Enterprises Inc. which does business as Turtle Tours thanked individuals advised them that they were "more than welcome to join us in any of our promotions or projects you find interesting " and said that notices would still be sent out to the entire group.

They would Kloppenburg wrote "be allowed to attend however the core membership of the JMC has been reduced to up to eight members."

Some of the recipients of the letter may not "go quietly into the night." A group of about 10 members met to discuss the situation on May 24 at the Guam Hotel Okura prior to the meeting of the JMC that afternoon.

The 10 declined to be identified. The tense meeting was conducted in Japanese and discussion ranged from who appointed Kloppenburg whether he should have maintained the structure put in place by the former chairman until the end of the fiscal year who were the officers he appointed and why they were chosen and whether a letter should be written to the board of the bureau. The bureau board was due to meet on May 25.

JMC previously had a variety of subcommittees "" which are now abolished "" each with a chairperson. Subcommittees included Group Market Senior Family Japanese Language Web Site Wedding Strategic Subcommittee Research OL and Water Activity.

Kloppenburg was appointed chairman of JMC after Monte Mesa general manager of Guam Premier Outlets; resigned the chairmanship after he was appointed to the board of the Port Authority of Guam.

Kloppenburg told the Journal he decided to streamline the committee. "I took a look at JMC right off the bat and I saw there were about 55 members and 11 different subcommittees. I talked to the chairman [of the bureau] and I said "˜I can’t operate that way.’ I called a board meeting and I said "˜This isn’t the way I run committees. I said I don’t have four hours." Kloppenburg said he was hoping to have meetings of the committee of no longer than an hour and then instruct bureau marketing staff and take recommendations to the bureau board.

JMC was reorganized to three committees with chairmen as of May 12. Richard G. Rennie general manager of the Royal Orchid Guam will be responsible for public relations; Tatsuo "Tak" Takano vice president of sales and marketing for DFS Guam will be responsible for strategy; and John Bent president of Guam Tropical Dive Station will be responsible for marketing. Kloppenburg said chairs of the three committees or sub-committees could have as many members as they wished." Those chairmen can pick their members "" they can have 25 if they want."

Additional members of the JMC board are Yuko Imai manager for Japan market development at Continental Micronesia; and Masanori Kanasugi president and chief executive of Nippon Travel Agency and president of the Japan-Guam Travel Association. Other individuals Kloppenburg said "will have input but eight people will vote on the issues. Everybody in the room has a voice "" they may not have a vote but they have a voice. It’s an open forum." He said members of the public were also welcome to attend.

"The bottom line is I want to increase visitor arrivals to Guam. I don’t have a personal agenda here. If I stepped on some toes I’m sorry."

He said three seats remained. "We haven’t completed the selection. We need to refocus. I’m looking at the attendance of the board members in the past. I want some airline people on there. There is a Continental person with very good attendance [Imai]. I’d like to have another airline "" preferably a Japanese airline "" hotel representation or some marketing people to round it out at eight."

The JGTA was represented Kloppenburg said in response to fears that the JMC would not be representative of the industry. "Their president is on the board; I myself am a representative of JGTA. Tak Takano represents the retailers and he’s Japanese. There is a lot of Japanese representation on the board there has to be."

The Journal was given a number of people to contact for this story but spoke to two as indicative.

Ken Haga president of US Explore & Study Inc. was formerly chairman of the Senior Subcommittee. He said he was shocked to receive Kloppenburg’s letter.

"Members of the JMC felt it was very comfortable and very fair. We were attending because we thought the issues were very important. My members had a picture of the next steps for my subcommittee."

Discussion at meetings were sometimes heated Haga said but "it was moving smoothly. His committee had conducted research he said. JMC members debated before recommendations went to the board he said. "We summarize analyze sometimes we research and finally we suggest or recommend if the idea is useful to board members. It was very routine." He said many on the committee shared his shock but did not want to be identified. "After Monte Mesa took over he said "˜Anyone can come and can talk. It was a better system so we attended and we talked a lot. Before there were not many only maybe tour agents or big corporation guys." Haga said the committee would not benefit from the new structure. "We should be fair to everybody. That’s why JMC is there."

James Redona is sales manager for Maolek(?) the Guam International Country Club’s golf store at the Micronesia Mall and is also responsible for sales and marketing for GICC. He regularly attended meetings of the JMC. "I was representing the golf course group. JMC has given us support as far as supporting the golf industry. Monte Mesa was very supportive of the Guam Golf Course Association. The president is Mr. Shimizu from LeoPalace the vice president Mr. Taguchi from Mangilao and Mr. Imizumi from Starts is a member." Redona is Japanese-speaking.

He would prefer to see everyone participate to the fullest extent. "Every vendor who is a member of GVB has a right to participate. I don’t think I’ll participate if I don’t have a voice. I feel that being able to voice an opinon in regards to the spending of GVB is important for the whole island. I think if we can get more people participation from different restaurants hotels and optional tours on how money is spent at GVB it will help people understand GVB itself."

Redona said some of the people who received the letter were puzzled. "They are thinkingg "˜What shall we do? We don’t have a voice any more.’ Based on the letter [people can ] only eight members have a voice and we can attend as observers. We need to have more individuals from different segments of the tourism industry be able to voice their opinion on how the money is to be spent for the Japan market."

According to the bureau 16 people attended the JMC meeting on May 24 which was a usual number. The meeting lasted from 3.30 p.m. to 4.50 p.m. After adjourning the group discussed summer events and forecasts for 2007 until about 5.30 p.m.

Redona said the group that met at the Okura had decided to wait and see what followed a discussion on Kloppenburg’s letter at the bureau board meeting on May 25. "We may decide to gather again. We want to table it until next week." MBJ