67 flights from Korea canceled; coronavirus losses expected to climb

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero said her administration is doing everything to prepare for COVID-19.

The Guam International Airport Authority reports that 67 scheduled flights to Guam from Korea this month have been canceled in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

GIAA Marketing Administrator Rolenda Faasuamalie reports that as of today, Korean Air, Jin Air, and Jeju Air had all cancelled flights from the South Korean cities of Incheon, Busan and Muan.

The cancellations cover the period between Feb. 14 and March 1.

At a tourism industry forum yesterday, the Guam Visitors Bureau said visitor arrivals in January were down about 14 percent. And the number of cancelled reservations through April is more than 15,000 which adds up to over $9 million in lost revenue for the island.

That doesn’t include the lost revenue from the Hotel Occupancy Tax which Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero today said is roughly $848,000. That lost income is expected to climb higher in the weeks ahead.

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“My mitigation is this. That the revenues that we have collected that are beyond what the revenues are for 2019, I want to put those in reserves. That to me is the method and the strategy that we should use. Put away the monies that we have collected for crisis situations like this,” the governor said.

She also revealed that the military has informed her that some U.S. military personnel will start to be transferred to Guam from Okinawa by the end of this year, with more coming in 2021 and later.

The governor is hopeful that the additional income generated from the military buildup will help make up for some of the losses from the decline in tourist arrivals.