Few if any tourists until January; full recovery may take 2 years


The outlook for reviving the island’s tourism industry remains grim.

At her afternoon news conference today, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said no new date for re-opening has been set and she doesn’t expect arrivals to pick up again until January of next year.

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The pressure is on from the island’s business community to set a date for re-opening the island to tourism but the governor is not yet ready to do that.

“We discussed this with GVB, and really no decision on the dates have been made because we have not yet decided on when exactly we will have to redo our protocols to allow more travelers to come here,” the governor said.

At last week’s, GVB board meeting, former governor and now GVB president Carl Gutierrez said the governor of Guam has to be pressed continuously about the importance of opening up Guam because other things could happen that are direr than getting COVID-19.

To this, the governor responded: “Opening tourism to just open tourism is not the right way. I think if we decide to invite more travelers to our island, we need to make sure that they also feel like they’re coming to a safe place. And we have to make sure also that they are coming from a safe place.”

Tanota Partners GM Michael Ysrael told Rotary club members last Thursday that we can’t live in constant fear of the coronavirus and a date needs to be set for re-opening.

But the governor said: “If, at all, we are going to start seeing tourists, I would say not till like the first quarter until next year. And again, in very limited amounts.”

She added: “In terms of tourism coming back, I will tell you that I don’t think we will have a complete return of our tourism for the next year or two years.”

GVB president Gutierrez went as far as warning that while lives may be lost to COVID, more lives lost may be lost if we don’t open up our economy again.

But the governor said: “I think if we do not protect our health. If we do not protect the life of our people, there’s no sense in any economy at all.”