Chamber urges diversification of economy; issues list of alternative industries

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The Guam Chamber of Commerce is pushing for the diversification of the island’s economy to compensate for the expected revenue shortfall caused by the decline of Guam’s tourism industry.

Toward this end, the Chamber has embarked on a mission to identify industries and ideas that can help with Guam’s economic recovery as the island works to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For a number of years the Guam Chamber of Commerce has recognized that industry diversification is vital to sustaining our local and regional economies in the Marianas and in Micronesia. As fruitful as tourism has been for Guam and our neighboring islands, the fragility of the industry has tested Guam and the Region’s business community over the years through natural disasters and global crises,” the Chamber stated in a release.

According to the Chamber, the current economic crisis caused by COVID-19 has crippled Guam’s visitor industry with almost zero economic activity in the second and perhaps even the third quarter of 2020.

“Business closures associated with the pandemic have left thousands of our residents unemployed for the unforeseeable future. The uncertainties of this situation reminds us of how vulnerable our current economic model is and how imperative it is that we develop and sustain new industries that will capitalize on our existing strengths and encourage our workforce to seek higher skill-sets,” the Chamber stated.

While the Chamber sees a gradual return of tourism to the island, it is also looking at industries outside of tourism to grow Guam’s economic base with the support of the public sector in the hopes of mitigating the vulnerabilities associated with travel restrictions, mandatory lock down measures or business closures.

Among the ideas and industries that the group has identified as attainable are: Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR); Captive Insurance; Guam Trust Law; Relocation of High Wealth Individuals & Business from Asia; Pharmaceutical manufacturing relocation to US Territories; Construction, Ship Repair and Labor; Safe Haven Port; Satellite Launching; and Silicon Village Initiative.

“Key to pushing many of the ideas forward is working with our local government to elevate Guam service levels by streamlining our government operations and processes. Further, a commitment from our government partners to work toward these goals collectively will determine how quickly we can attain them,” the Chamber concluded.

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