Lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in Japan ‘good news’ for Guam but ‘critical factors remain’

Tourists at the Guam airport. (PNC file photo)

Sonny Ada, the Chairman of the Board of the Guam Visitors Bureau welcomes the decision by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to lift the coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and four other remaining areas.

Abe’s announcement on Monday lifts the nationwide emergency in Japan as businesses in that country begin to reopen.

“This is good news,” said Ada in response to a request for comment from the Pacific News Center.

Tourism is Guam’s number one industry and Japan, along with Korea, are the island’s two primary tourist markets.

However Ada said “critical factors remain” to be seen.

1.) Japan’s Covid-19 numbers remain under control.

2.) Japan’s return traveler quarantine requirement is removed.

3.) Guam is ready to assure travelers we have safety practices and procedures in place.

If those things happen,  “then we are ready to open for business with Japan” said Ada “and that could be in July.”

Meanwhile, GVB President and CEO Pilar Laguana said “The lifting of Japan’s nationwide state of emergency by Prime Minister Abe is a positive step forward for Guam tourism. ”

However, she also said “several factors must be met for us to officially welcome visitors in the next few months.”

First, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on Guam needs to remain at a controlled or non-existent number. The second factor is the Japanese government.

Japan also needs to lift the level 3 restriction that advises its citizens not to travel abroad.

And lastly, Guam needs to lift the 14-day quarantine for all inbound passengers to Guam upon arrival.

“Once these key factors are met,” said Laguna “we must initiate our recovery effort by rebuilding our air seat capacity and working with our travel trade partner to sell and promote Guam through their diverse channels.”

“We must also be ready on Guam that our key stakeholders from the industry, such as hotels, optional tours, and shopping centers, are ready for this influx of positive economic impact on our island. It is a turbulent time now, but when all the pieces are in place, we can only come out of this pandemic with positive success for our industry and our island.”