Guam – Guam’s number one industry, tourism, is on the rise. GVB General Manager Gerry Perez says these are the best tourism numbers Guam has seen in several years.
Guam has had dismal tourism numbers since 9/11 but now things appear to be changing. GVB general manager Gerry Perez explained saying, “For a change as you know for the last few years Guam has been hammered badly with a lot of things from SARS, H1, typhoons, and the financial crisis. So this last fiscal year is the first year we saw blue skies and we hope to build upon that this year.”
This year so far there is an 8% increase in tourist arrivals over last year and last year saw an 11% increase over the prior year. “If we maintain this pace we should come close to hitting $1.2 million arrivals that’s a number that we haven’t seen in a few years as you know,” said Perez.
In fact we went to Tumon today and found it bustling with tourists. Perez says this is due to four major reasons number one is an increase in the Japan market partly because of increases in arrivals from Osaka. The Korea market is up because of additional airline service, flights have resumed from Hong Kong, and there are now charter flights from Taiwan and China. Whatever the reason it has made business a little bit better for people like John Acfalle. Acfalle owns and operates Tumon Sports Club. He’s been in the business for 28 years and says he has definitely seen and increase in customers but not as good as it once was. “Compared to last year and the year before since the 9/11 really it was like a ghost town we just have to pay rent and there’s no discount everybody knows you gotta play with the big boys down here and hope that things get better,” said Acfalle adding, “it looks like it’s picking up however they’re coming up with different cheap tours the economy shows it’s getting better however the spending of each tourist is not as much as it used to be those were the good all days.”
This is the peak season because it’s Japan’s winter months and tourists come here to escape the cold, but Perez says numbers now are still better than they were last year at this time.