With over 100 canceled flights from South Korea to Guam, local businesses geared towards Korean tourists are especially suffering.
The immediate threat from coronavirus is not so much the health of island residents, but our economy.
For local company Hana Tour, 99 percent of its business comes from Korean tourists.
Thomas Son, the company’s director of marketing, says in February they were down over 50 percent from this time last year. But the real worry is in the months ahead.
“We are only 20 percent of what we did last year, for March and April. So, we don’t see any new bookings and we don’t think this is getting any better at the moment,” Son said.
With business down 80 percent, the Guam office of the Korean tour operator has already started to take cost-cutting measures.
“Management is already taking action. We’ve cut pay for some staff. Some we had to ask to take involuntary leave. But we haven’t fired anyone yet, we haven’t laid anyone off yet, which is good. But we’re doing what we can to lessen the impact,” Son said.
He said the people on unpaid leave are mostly tour guides and upper management. He’s hoping they won’t have to ask any more people to take unpaid leave, but if things get worse, he said they’ll have no choice.
Son said they’re hopeful they’ll start to see progress by June.
The company’s rent-a-car subsidiary is meeting with the USO on Guam to offer the military services that weren’t previously offered.
Son said that while they’re trying to adapt, this small step will hardly make up the massive loss of revenue.