The number of travel cancellations has gone up to over 15,000 due to fears about the novel coronavirus, says Guam Visitors Bureau President Pilar Laguana.
As a result, the current estimated financial loss to the island from tourist cancellations is now over $9.1 million from February to April.
“These cancellations are primarily for packages that include air travel, accommodations, and tours. The total cancellations are now a little over 15,000. The economic impact for this loss is over $9.1 million from February through April,” Laguana said.
Dr. Janna Manglona, Department of Public Health and Social Services Medical Director, warned that hospital beds are limited right now.
“Try to get a bed at any of the hospitals. We stay full at our current level of infection and chronic disease on the island, so we’re at capacity as it is. So, our best line of defense is to keep the coronavirus out,” Manglona said.
Laguana added: “We are working diligently with our source markets to monitor the situation and to keep the channels of communication open. Travel agents have been rebooking cancellations from Korea and the latter part of the spring into the summer, we’re seeing that happen. So this is some good news.”
[Speakers and panelists of the Visitor Industry Briefing on the Coronavirus include from left, Annette Aguon, MPA Bureau of Communicable Disease Control (BCDC) Administrator, Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services; Ann Pobutsky, PhD Territorial Epidemiologist, Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services; Linda Unpingco DeNorcey, MPH Director, Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services; The Honorable Therese M. Terlaje, Senator of the 35th Guam Legislature and Chairwoman of Health and Tourism; Ike Peredo, Director, Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency; Pilar Laguaña, President and CEO, Guam Visitors Bureau; Thomas C. Ada, Executive Manager, Guam International Airport Airport Authority; Mary T. Rhodes, President of Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association; T Dr. Janna Manglona, MD Medical Director, Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services; and Chief Vincent Perez, Deputy Director, Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency.]
READ the release from GVB in FULL below:
GVB Hosts Visitor Industry Briefing on Coronavirus for Members and Industry Stakeholders
(Feb. 18, 2020 – Tumon, Guam) – The Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) hosted the Visitor Industry Briefing on the novel coronavirus on February 18th, 2020 at the Lotte Hotel Guam. Over 150 GVB members, industry stakeholders and government officials gathered to learn from subject matter experts about what they can do to minimize the spread of the virus and the possible effects on Guam’s tourism industry.
Speakers and panelists included The Honorable Therese M. Terlaje, Senator of the 35th Guam Legislature and Chairwoman of Health and Tourism; Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) representatives: Linda Unpingco DeNorcey, MPH Director, Dr. Janna Manglona, MD Medical Director, Annette Aguon, MPA Bureau of Communicable Disease Control (BCDC) Administrator, Ann Pobutsky, PhD Territorial Epidemiologist; Thomas C. Ada, Executive Manager from Guam International Airport Authority; Mary T. Rhodes, President of Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association; and Ike Peredo, Director, and Chief Vincent Perez, Deputy Director, from the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency.
GVB President and CEO, Pilar Laguaña opened the briefing noting the bureau’s responsibility to facilitate the sharing of correct information amongst industry partners. “Our community needs accurate information from subject matter experts.”
GVB is part of a multi-agency group that is addressing this issue locally. GVB’s role is to monitor and share information so that we can all do our part to stay safe, keep our tourism industry working, and get people to where they need to go. We thank our speakers for equipping us with the information we need to keep our residents and visitors safe,” shared `Laguaña.
GVB has been working closely with Governor Leon Guerrero and her administration in addressing the coronavirus and commends their proactive response to the situation.
Laguaña added, “We’d like to emphasize that Guam remains a safe destination. We will continue to keep our stakeholders informed and diligently work together to prevent any potential risks to our island.”
GVB tasked attendees to rally behind the Government of Guam’s efforts to prevent the introduction of the coronavirus on Guam by staying informed, practicing proper health etiquette, and establishing team protocols. GVB also urged local businesses to prepare for the current and potential economic impacts caused by this virus.
Linda Unpingco DeNorcey, MPH Director, Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services concluded the briefing stating, “The novel coronavirus is a community health issue. All of us are members of the community and we must all work together in times of emergency. We implore you to be part of our team and help us to fight this disease.”