Survey: Guam residents largely favorable to island tourism, but a growing number think there are too
It's been seven years since the Guam Visitors Bureau last formally looked into the attitudes of Guam residents toward the tourists who have been flocking to the island in increasing numbers over the years.
The just released Survey of Tourism Attitudes of Residents was carried out for GVB by the Guam-based firm Market Research & Development, starting in January. The full report was released in June.
Understandably, the GVB emphasized the positives of the STAR survey, such as the 69 percent who believed that tourism has a positive impact on them, their families and Guam overall.
The survey included more than 1,200 respondents, divided between southern, central and northern parts of Guam and further, between Chamorro and non-Chamorro residents. Survey methods to adjust for age differences were also employed.
There is general agreement, regardless of where the residents live or who they are, that tourism creates many well paying jobs for Guam residents, with 61 percent agreeing with that statement. On the other hand, a growing number of respondents, 64 percent, agreed that tourist jobs don't offer much opportunity for advancement. That compares with 49 percent holding that view in 2006 and 2010.
Whether residents feel the number of tourists visiting is either about right, not enough or 'too many' is of great interest to the GVB and its tourism industry clients.
“The proportion of residents who perceived that just the right amount of visitors come to Guam each year more than doubled from 23 percent in both 2010 and 2006 to 47 percent,” according to the survey.
But while less than ten percent thought there were too many visitors in 2006 and 2010, that figure climbed to 18 percent in 2017, while those agreeing that “just the right number” were coming, dropped from over 60 percent in 2006 and 2010 to 47 percent in 2017.
“This survey is an extremely useful tool to measure how people feel about the impact of Guam’s visitor industry and assess public awareness of programs and initiatives that preserve our culture,” said GVB President and CEO Nathan Denight in a GVB news release. “The STAR survey also helps measure our progress in the industry and provide strategic recommendations to keep us moving forward with our goals to make Guam a better place to live, work and visit.”