GVB to lobby Biden administration for Guam exemption from vaccinated travel rule

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President Joe Biden speaks to the nation from Washington. President Biden had announced that come November, the travel ban on most travelers will be lifted as long as they can show proof of vaccination and a negative coronavirus test. (ABC News file photo)

The Guam Visitors Bureau plans to ask Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero to lobby the Biden administration for a Guam exemption to the president’s recent vaccinated travel directive.

The White House had announced that come November, it will lift the ban on most travelers as long as they can show proof of vaccination and a negative coronavirus test.

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The problem with this, GVB vice president Gerry Perez said, is that it will adversely affect Guam’s “Air V&V” program, which precisely seeks to attract the unvaccinated to come to Guam and get vaccinated.

“We’re watching this new development from the Biden administration very closely,” Perez said during the informational hearing held Tuesday by legislative tourism chair Sen. Amanda Shelton.

According to GVB president Carl Gutierrez, he hasn’t spoken with the governor yet. But Gutierrez said he knows that the governor has a strong backbone and that Biden, in his estimation, was implementing this fully vaccinated directive as more of a European lifting rather than one focused on the Pacific.

“I’m sure that if we get the governor to step in a bit, and re-establish the fact to the Biden administration that the Air V&V program to our ally, Taiwan, particularly, that they would carve an exemption for Guam on that requirement of being fully vaccinated. So hopefully, there’s still an opportunity for Air V&V to work well for Taiwan,” Gutierrez said.

Perez said this is crucial because if Guam is not granted an exemption, it will make GVB’s Air V&V not feasible, not just for the Taiwan market but other markets as well.

“Most of these other Asian countries are still lagging behind in vaccination rates with the exception of Singapore,” Perez said.

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