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Bjorn Courage

General Manager
ANA InterContinental Manza Beach Resort

Date of birth: Aug. 23, 1973

Hometown: Kerkrade, the Netherlands

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 8 (as of December 2017)

Bjorn Courage
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

My first memorable experience was over 20 years ago when working at a hotel in London. We welcomed many Japanese visitors and I was overwhelmed by their politeness, kindness and sincerity. That was when Japan first intrigued me and I resolved that my career would take me there one day. That dream came true in 2005 when I moved to Tokyo, I have been in Japan on and off ever since.

Q2: Please state your motto in life and why you have chosen it.

Possibly a cliche, but I live by the motto “carpe diem,” always be grateful for the privileged lives we live and enjoy every moment to the fullest. We should never take matters for granted and always give back more than we receive. I am blessed to create memorable guest experiences for a living, support the local community and help those who work for me reach their career and personal aspirations.

Q3 : Over your career, what achievement are you the proudest of?

The thing that gives me the greatest pride is developing young talent into responsible, industry-defining hospitality leaders. I was fortunate to have brilliant mentors early on in my career, hence I understand the importance of passing on knowledge to allow the next generation to excel and be their best selves. Supporting local communities also gives great meaning, especially during hardships like the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011.

Q4 : What are your goals during your time in Japan, your current position or in life?

My goal in work and life is to use my experience to motivate and add value to those around me, whether it’s family, colleagues or the local community. In the hotel world we move regularly between hotels and different countries, meaning our tenure in each hotel can be relatively brief. So it is important to leave a legacy of having made a positive difference every day for guests, colleagues and business.

Q5 : What wisdom, advice or tips can you give to people living and working in Japan?

Travel the nation from north to south, east to west and always remain humble, remembering that we are visitors in someone else's home. Japan is simply breathtaking and full of incredible experiences, but do listen carefully to voices of the locals as the best experiences are often hidden secrets. Enjoy it!

Last updated: Oct 2, 2018