The plan includes beautifying Guam’s image overall, promoting more events and attractions, and building more hotel rooms.
Guam – Guam Visitors Bureau Board Chairman Mark Baldyga says the future for the island’s tourism looks bright.
Baldyga during a presentation says, “25 million dollars in 2012. 38 million in 2016. 49% increase over five years. Pretty strong.”
He explains that Guam is on track with their Tourism 2020 goals, which means…”What’s the impact? Well 1.3 million to 2 million, that’s including the China visa waiver, 1.4 billion to the economy now, that’s another 2 billion to the economy,” says Baldyga.
…But before they can achieve those goals, Baldyga pointed out that a lot still has to be done. With the number of visitors to the island expected to increase over the next few years, can Guam handle the influx? Thanks to the addition of new hotels such as Lotte, Dusit Thani and the Tsubaki Tower, Baldyga says their goals of getting 2 million visitors to the island by the year 2020 is achievable.
Baldyga says, “In 2014, we had 8400 rooms. We now have 9300 rooms well on our way to 10,000.”
To attract more visitors to the island, GVB will continue to push signature events such as the Guam Live Festival and the Guam International Marathon. Then for the slow months, Baldgya says they want to promote more MICE business for Guam. However, one issue is the visa waiver program.
Governor of Guam Eddie Calvo says, “There has been discussion on maybe moving out of this unique Guam visa program at least for Korea and Japan, and just fall in the U.S. visa waiver program. It will be made simpler as well.” Calvo will be leaving to Washington D.C. in the summer to meet with the U.S. Homeland Security.
Meanwhile, GVB has a game plan which includes extending tourism beyond Tumon, extending visitors’ length of stay by promoting unique attractions, adding high-end hotel rooms, growing visitor arrivals. They also want to diversify, and improve quality and yield of Guam’s overall image.
For improving quality…Baldyga says, “We would simply look to establish a master plan for Tumon and to establish CC&Rs much like what you would have in a gated community. If you want to own a business in Tumon, there can’t be any waste in front of your property or put a camera in front of your business that will tie in to the koban. Just small things that would step up the quality. This [new bus stops] will be up next year. We also said we would fix the streetlights. Same situation. We took it out of our reserve.”