GHRA warns of tourism downturn due to coronavirus

GHRA President Mary Rhodes says January and February were still strong months for Guam's tourism industry.

The full impact of tourist cancellations on Guam is not yet known as travelers wary of the virus continue switching travel plans.

GHRA President Mary Rhodes says January and February were still strong months for Guam’s tourism industry.

However, she said GHRA’s membership will really start feeling the effects in March and April.

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“The whole industry really needs to be ready to weather that and brace for the impact. We expect to have a couple of months of downturn,” Rhodes said.

She added that with such a fluid situation, it’s hard to predict when tourism numbers will turn around, but Guam won’t be seeing another peak season until July and August.

In an interview with PNC, Rhodes said businesses will need to adjust to get through this downturn. But she doesn’t foresee any layoffs.

She is advocating for more communication with source markets to keep promoting Guam as a coronavirus-free travel destination and she’s calling on Public Health and others to keep it that way.

“I think now it’s time to go beyond what we’ve done, and enhance those safety protocols to look at beyond just China, and really add those protocols in for anyone traveling from Korea, Taipei, Taiwan, and even Japan because Japan and Korea are now Level 2 markets, as far as what the CDC has identified in travel advisories. So we have to look beyond China and really treat this as a global situation now and not just specific to one region or one country,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes added that while tourist numbers are dipping from Korea, Japan is actually holding steady with its reservations through April.

She also noted that the minimum wage hike could actually help generate some extra dollars to be spent in the local economy.