By Kimberly Lopes, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public AffairsAugust 8, 2019
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Aug. 9, 2019) -- Camp Zama's International Tours and Travel was named this year's best travel agency in the small garrison category in the Stars and Stripes newspaper's annual "Best of the Pacific" poll.
The poll results were announced July 19 following a voting period that began in January, during which people in military communities in Japan, Okinawa, Guam and Korea could vote online for their favorite services and facilities, both on and off their respective installations. Camp Zama's ITT also received honorable mentions in the 2018 and 2017 "Best of the Pacific" polls.
Camp Zama's ITT offers a variety of travel packages, including domestic tours in spots like Kyoto and Hiroshima; destinations in Asia such as Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam; and even Australia and New Zealand.
The agency assists customers with every aspect of planning their trip, including booking airline tickets, making hotel reservations and arranging guided tours. Camp Zama ITT can also help with travel arrangements for those living outside Japan to visit residents here.
Yuko Inoue, a manager at Camp Zama ITT, has been helping residents here with their travel needs for more than 15 years. She attributes her agency's recognition in the Stars and Stripes poll to her staff's attention to detail, combined years of experience, and a dedication to providing customers with a memorable travel experience.
A selection of comments from voters in the poll, featured in the printed results circular, mirrors Inoue's praise of the travel agency.
"[They] are always friendly and helpful in planning trips," wrote Camp Zama resident Mary Linda Malley.
"Such friendly customer service!" wrote Camp Zama resident Isaac Norton.
There was even praise from customers outside the Army installation. Naval Air Facility Atsugi resident Marjorie Adams wrote, "[I] use [Camp Zama ITT] often and the trips/tours have been great!"
Booking a trip with the ITT staff is very simple, Inoue said; all she needs to start planning a customer's trip is "the date and the destination, then what you're interested in."
Trips are tailored to the travelers' preferences and specific needs. For example, Inoue noticed that "kids might enjoy the beach, but sometimes adults enjoy culture," so the activities she plans also change depending on the interests of each group.
Although Inoue plans trips to major cities such as Hiroshima, Kyoto, and Sapporo, Inoue said she enjoys introducing Camp Zama residents to lesser-known travel destinations.
One of Inoue's favorite tours goes to Kanazawa, the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture. Camp Zama ITT's Kanazawa tour provides transportation and hotel accommodations so that visitors can appreciate the city's well-preserved historical buildings, beautiful landscaping and detailed handicrafts.
For people who have already seen Japan's most famous sites, Inoue encourages them to expand their horizons and explore new cities to see even more of what Japan has to offer.
The agency also offers package deals only for foreigners that include hotel and bullet train reservations at a substantial discount. The language barrier can make planning trips and booking tickets a challenge, Inoue said, but Camp Zama ITT helps customers overcome those difficulties in order to take advantage of all the unique travel destinations Japan has to offer.
Regardless of one's experience with traveling in Japan and abroad, Inoue said Camp Zama ITT has the tools and knowledge to create and personalize a well-planned trip. She added that she and her staff find satisfaction in helping people explore both Japan and the world.
"For me, the best part of my job is when a customer returns from a trip and says, 'I really enjoyed it … it was perfect.'"
To schedule a tour or book tickets at Camp Zama's ITT, customers can call 263-5279 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.