Tourists are also not canceling their travel plans despite the North Korea threats.
Guam – The Guam Visitor’s Bureau has said time and time again that they believe the North Korea threats have had no impact on tourism numbers and now they have the numbers to prove it. In fact, there was actually an increase in tourist arrivals in the last two weeks.
GVB Acting Director of Tourism Research Nico Fujikawa addressed what he says is the big issue on everyone’s mind. How North Korea threats have impacted the island’s tourism industry. GVB’s research department has been watching visitor arrivals closely and it appears that visitors are unfazed by the recent tensions between the US and North Korea despite Guam being caught in the middle.
“The research department is really closely watching the visitor arrivals. We are coming out of July 2017, which is our best July that we ever recorded. The last time it was around 130,000 was back in 1997. So we broke a 20-year record. So coming off of that high horse going into August even with the threats, we are still seeing a solid growth,” said Fujikawa.
Fujikawa says that Japanese tourists have shared that they continue to feel safe on Guam and are not canceling their travel plans to our island. Surprisingly, the biggest growth is from Korea and despite the North Korea threats, Korean visitor arrivals are up by 26 percent from last year.
“Right, August is a peak month for us, the Japan market is still coming in pretty strong. We do see a decrease but that is tied into the air seat capacity which we have been losing for different flight cancellations but the other markets, especially with Korea, is still pulling the whole total number for tourism up. So growth for tourism is still there; it’s still up,” according to Fujikawa.
According to the research, for the first two weeks in August, visitor arrivals have increased by three percent when compared to August 2016 figures. Fujikawa points out that nearly 74,000 visitors continued to arrive on Guam, unperturbed by the North Korean threats.
“I think the message is that Guam has always been a safe place regardless of the threats that we have and even if the world is looking at us now because of this particular threat that has been going back and forth between them, is that Guam is still strong, still staying the same. We are not going to get too excited that everyone is watching us now. We still got to keep our ear to the ground, keep our feet on the ground.” said Fujikawa.
GVB’s Public Information Officer Josh Tyquiengco says that the positive side of the North Korean threats is that interest in learning about Guam has increased nationally and internationally, giving Guam a chance to share the real story of the island’s people and hospitality.