GHRA gearing up for reopening of Guam tourism

Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association (PNC file photo)

The Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association is gearing up for the planned reopening of the island’s tourism industry on May 1.

GHRA Chairwoman Sophia Chu Wigsten, who is also a member of the Guam tourism reopening task force, said GHRA is focusing on three things to prepare for the reopening of tourism: the vaccination of tourism workers, the clean-up and beautification of the island, and the communication of the message that Guam is a safe destination to visit.

“We all know, 2020 was a challenge. But we do need to start planning for the future. It’s encouraging to see that the CAR score continues to be low even after we reopened our hotels, restaurants, bars, and retail outlets. This is a testament to the efforts of everyone to follow proper safety protocols,” Wigsten during GHRA’s Hotelier Chapter meeting.

To prepare for the reopening of tourism, Wigsten is encouraging industry workers to get vaccinated as soon as possible. In addition to the vaccination sites run by GovGuam, Public Health, and the Guam Guard, Wigsten said GHRA is planning to set up a pilot vaccination program for tourism workers that will be located in Tumon to make it more convenient for industry workers to get vaccinated.

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In addition, GHRA is planning to organize a townhall informational meeting to educate tourism industry workers about the benefits and advantages of being vaccinated.

Wigsten said this education outreach is necessary because although many industry workers are willing to get vaccinated, there are still some having second thoughts about vaccination.

After vaccination, Wigsten said GHRA’s second workstream involves destination preparedness which includes projects such as digitizing forms and the arrival process. There is also an island-wide clean-up planned for this April to spruce up the island’s tourism attractions.

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“We strongly encourage everyone to participate as it’s not only important to our visiting tourists but also for us because this is our home. This clean-up will be islandwide and not just Tumon,” Wigsten said.

The third and last workstream that GHRA is working on is communication.

Wigsten said it is important to communicate to Guam’s tourism markets that Guam is a safe destination and ready to welcome visitors.

“We still have a long way to go but we are starting on the road to recovery,” Wigsten stressed.