Guam eyes military families market

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America’s First Corps Soldiers go through customs for exercise Forager 21 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, July 10, 2021. Most of the visitor arrivals during the past few months came from the military. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. David Resnick)

With Guam’s traditional tourism markets continuing to have travel restrictions, the Guam Visitors Bureau is eyeing a market that has virtually no restrictions at all —- the military market, especially the friends and relatives of military personnel already stationed here.

According to GVB president Carl Gutierrez, military personnel and their families are not restricted to come to Guam and they can return back to the mainland without restrictions.

“That’s the continental United States of America, and the many, many, many, families … mothers, brothers, sisters of military personnel that are here on Guam. And so we are now looking at what kind of incentives we can provide to this market which has not yet been fully tapped,” Gutierrez said during an informational hearing at the legislature held by tourism chair Sen. Amanda Shelton.

Gutierrez and GVB vice president Gerry Perez pointed out that most of the visitor arrivals this year came from the military.

“The military comprises up to 60 percent of our arrivals during this last couple months, if you can believe that. I mean, I remember years ago when that segment was barely 1% or 2% of our market,” Perez said.

Gutierrez said GVB is planning to work with the hotels and the airlines to give these military visiting friends and relatives more incentives to come visit their loved ones here.

“That’s something that we’re looking at as a next phase for bringing the families of military personnel here at lower costs, working with travel, hotel, and airline wholesale support with a lot of incentives,” Gutierrez said.

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