GVB: Tourist booking cancellations have begun

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Bobby Alvarez, GVB acting president and CEO, says Guam's tourism industry should brace for even more cancellations, at least until the virus can be contained.

Cancellations are already trickling in, as tourists fear the worst from the coronavirus outbreak.

Nearly 2,000 tourists from Korea and Japan have canceled their planned vacations to Guam and according to the Guam Visitors Bureau, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Bobby Alvarez, GVB acting president and CEO, says Guam’s tourism industry should brace for even more cancellations, at least until the virus can be contained.

While there are no reported cases of the disease on Guam, Alvarez says this is much like the SARS scare in 2003.

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“Well, the general information that we’re getting, is these travelers are reluctant to be in crowded areas and to be in crowded airports. They’re basically afraid of their own airport. And the concern is not on Guam, it’s just they don’t want to be in a crowded airport in their hometown and in crowded places in their hometown. So, there is an alarm right now,” Alvarez
said.

Alvarez says with tourism’s natural trickle-down effect in Guam, it will be the 21,000 men and women who work in the industry that are most affected.

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“I think that there is concern about cancellations because the flights are already showing cancellations, so there’s going to be a cascading effect going down. If they cancel their flights, they’re going to obviously cancel hotels, which would probably affect tours that are going to be canceled, and rent-a-cars, and things that were put in place when they made their booking,” Alvarez said.

GVB is planning to hold a forum in the next couple of weeks to ease the concerns of industry and answer questions regarding the response plans to the virus outbreak.

Alvarez says he and his team are confident with all the plans that are in place to prevent the spread of the virus or deal with a case should one arise.

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