Public Auditor: TAF revenues severely affected by COVID-19

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Although Tourist Attraction Fund revenues increased during fiscal year 2019, the Office of Public Accountability warned that FY 2020 revenues will be significantly down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning in February 2020, the worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) had a sudden and ruinous effect on Guam’s tourism, which came to a complete standstill in March 2020.

The Department of Administration’s financial management anticipates that the HOT revenues collected from the hotels providing quarantine shelter will provide funding for debt payments.

However, OPA warned that FY 2020 revenues will be severely impacted, requiring significant reductions in non-restricted expenditures, including payments to GVB.

TAF was created to fund various recreational projects and visitor industry activities with revenues derived from the hotel occupancy taxes (HOT) generated from the visitor industry.

Before COVID-19, collections of HOT revenue increased by $1.5 million (or 4%) to $44.7 million in FY 2019, due primarily to a 7% increase in tourist arrivals from 1.5 million tourists in 2018 to 1.6 million tourists in 2019.

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