With the warm relationship between Guam and Taiwan continuing to flourish, plans are now being made to establish a travel “bubble” between the two places.
Guam Visitors Bureau president Carl Gutierrez said during Thursday’s GVB board meeting that Taiwan is most likely the first market that can provide tourists to Guam because it has not been too adversely affected by COVID-21.
According to Gutierrez, Taiwan early on established protocols that protected it from COVID-19, drawing from its lessons from the SARS epidemic.
Taiwan was one of Guam’s regular sources of tourists before the pandemic hit and GVB believes Taiwan will be the tourism market that recovers soonest because of its success in mitigating the COVID-19 virus.
Gutierrez said the Guam International Airport Authority and the Guam Economic Development Authority are joining GVB in looking at ways by which stronger economic ties with Taiwan can be attained.
To further solidify Guam’s relationship with Taiwan, Gutierrez said GovGuam plans to send a delegation to visit the country next year led by no less than Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.
“During our meeting, the governor said she really wants to visit Taiwan and its cities, especially Taichung where the China Medical University Medical hospital is,” Gutierrez said.
He added that the Taiwanese people are especially itching to travel abroad again, especially to Guam, which is just about four hours away.
“Taiwanese tourists are eager to travel to Guam because of their love for the island’s clear, blue waters. Taiwan is really looking to have their people flying somewhere because they’re kind of amped up. And Guam is one of the best places where they can travel, with our CAR score now down to 1.5,” the GVB president said.
Expected to facilitate the travel bubble between Guam and Taiwan is the application of StarLux, Taiwan’s chic new airline, for a Taiwan-Guam route in anticipation of Guam’s recovery from COVID-19.
StarLux is an international airline company headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan. The airline has already ordered 17 wide-body A350 air jets from Airbus.
According to the carrier’s plan, nine of these – A350-900s – will be operating on flights to Guam, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Ontario, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle.
According to Gutierrez, EVA Air has also been approved to resume air services to Guam.
“So there’s a possibility of having at least once or twice a week direct flight from Taiwan, not only for tourists and students, but also for medical services for our people. So I think we’re making headway with Taiwan,” Gutierrez said.