Guam – The Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) has announced its successful involvement at the International Forum for Chinese Outbound Tourism Forum 2011 (IFCOT) during June 14-15, 2011 in Beijing, China.
Senator Tina Rose Muña Barnes was invited to provide opening remarks at the 7th Annual IFCOT before leading Chinese government and travel trade representatives.
[Left to Right: Amy Lee, GVB China Marketing Representative, Ms. Pilar Laguaña, GVB Marketing Manager, Mr. Jim Beighley, Senior VP – Marketing & Market Development DFS Group, Senator Tina Muña Barnes, 31st Guam Legislature, Mrs. Joann Camacho, GVB General Manager, Mr. Zhu Shanzhong, CNTA Vice Chairman, Ms. Luo Yu, Deputy Division Director-International Relations, and Ms. Zhangli Li, International Liaison Division]
At the event, GVB made great efforts to capture the interest of the affluent Chinese and the Chinese Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions (MICE) market, in preparation for the possible implementation of the China-Russia Guam Visa Waiver Program. According to GVB Marketing Manager Pilar Laguaña, in 2010 there were 57.38 million Chinese outbound travelers, which represented a 20% increase over 2009. 2011 holds a promising forecast of 60 million Chinese traveling abroad and even an impressive 2015 forecast of 83.75 million. GVB, together with the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) are working to address destination improvements such as the Quality Service Certification program.
Mr. Gerald S.A. Perez, former GVB General Manager and currently a consultant for the bureau was one of the keynote speakers at IFCOT. The GVB delegation had also scheduled a meeting with the Embassy of the United States and met with Mr. Robert S. Wang, Deputy Chief of Mission; Mr. William M. Zarit, Minister-Counselor Commercial Affairs; and Mr. Daniel Kachur, First Secretary – Economic Affairs and several representatives from CBP. They discussed Chinese travel trends, the difficulties of obtaining a US visa for Guam’s upcoming charters from China and solicited their support for Guam’s quest for the China-Russia Guam Visa Waiver program.
A courtesy meeting was also scheduled for the GVB delegation with the CNTA to meet with CNTA Vice Chairman Zhu Shanzhong, CNTA Marketing & International Cooperation Department, Deputy Division Director-International Relations Division, Mr. Luo Yu, and CNTA International Liaison Division Ms. Zhanghli Li. Discussion revolved around the lengthy and costly experience by Chinese travelers in obtaining a US visa. Senator Barnes gave a presentation on Guam as a visitor destination. Mr. Jim Beighley, former GVB Board Vice Chairman and now Senior Vice President, Marketing & Market Development for DFS Group also joined the Guam delegation to discuss Guam’s visa waiver initiative. CNTA encouraged Senator Barnes to continue to push for a visa waiver and if successful, Guam will surely have more visitors from China. CNTA noted that they are aware that Guam is about 4 hours away via air and is the closest USA destination from China.
The Guam delegation included Senator Tina Rose Muña Barnes, Chairwoman, Committee on Municipal Affairs, Tourism, Housing and Recreation, GVB General Manager Joann Camacho, GVB Marketing Manager Pilar Laguaña, GVB Marketing Officer Gina Kono, GVB Marketing Representative-Amy Lee, GVB Consultant to the Board Gerald S.A. Perez, and the cultural dance group Inetnon Gef’ Pago.
“China is a critical component of GVB’s marketing strategy. We must be proactive in engaging key influencers in the market place and IFCOT presented an opportunity to allow GVB to be noticed and brought us closer towards making Guam a destination of choice for Chinese visitors,” says GVB General Manager Joann Camacho.