Guam – The Guam Visitors Bureau is donning a new name in honor of the late “Mr. Guam Tourism,” Bert Unpingco.
Since the 1970’s Norbert Reyes Unpingco also known as Bert and Mr. Tourism, dedicated his life to share the island spirit with all who visited promoting the island’s beauty and culture. A pioneer in the local tourism industry, he was the first general manager for the Guam Visitor’s Bureau (GVB).
“When Governor Carlos Camacho asked my dad to come to Guam, he is the one who opened Guam Visitor’s Bureau, and as a young teenager I would go and follow him and pass out brochures to everybody and anybody. And everybody that was at the airport that was coming off the plane we would give shell necklaces to leis and it didn’t matter who they were,” fondly recalled his daughter, Gloria Unpingco Santiago.
Unpingco not only promoted the tourism from our sandy shores, he also carried the Hafa Adai spirit while living in the US mainland receiving the “Discover America Award.” Unpingco began his making his mark on the island’s tourism while living in Alabama. And when he answered the call from Governor Camacho, he helped Guam grow into a world-class destination.
“One of the most memorable things my dad did for Guam was the W.A.V.E. program. Welcome all visitor’s enthusiastically is what it means. So he has done a lot here and if it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have all the hotels, we wouldn’t have all the tourists coming. They are the ones that make Guam happen,” shared Santiago.
Mr. Tourism passed away in May of 2017, at the age of 83. His legacy will now live on and his name will forever be memorialized for his contributions to the island. As earlier this week GVB’s Visitor Center was renamed to the Norbert “Bert” Unpingco Visitor Center in a special ceremony commemorating his dedication as a pioneer in the tourism industry.