A quiet and peaceful weekend scene on Guam's Tumon Bay (Trinity Feliciano)
It's not exactly news to the people of Guam or its tens of thousands monthly tourist visitors that North Korea has been uttering threats against the island for years. That has hardly discouraged tourism in the past, as borne out by numbers just issued by the Guam Visitors Bureau.
Guam welcomed 132,952 visitors in July 2017, an 8.1 percent increase when compared to the previous year. July 2017 surpassed the top record held in 1997 to become the best July in Guam’s tourism history.
In the days leading up to big events that included the 5th Guam BBQ Block Party and 73rd (World War II) Liberation Day, daily arrivals showed increases in visitor arrivals.
“Another record in our history books is now broken with July 2017 becoming the best July in our tourism history," said Governor Eddie Baza Calvo. "We have so much to be proud of in Guam’s number one industry. I commend the over 20,000 men and women in tourism, many of who were recently honored at the 2017 HERO awards by the Guam Visitors Bureau and Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association. We’ve made great strides to create more job opportunities and more ways to keep our Chamorro culture and hospitality at the forefront. Let’s keep up this momentum.”
Guam’s second top visitor market of Korea recorded a 25 percent increase, while the U.S. mainland increased 14.9 percent when compared to the same month in the previous year.
“As tourism grows and diversifies, so too do our challenges to meet the strategic goals of our Tourism 2020 plan,” said GVB President and CEO Nathan Denight. “The biggest challenge we are facing at the moment is seating capacity. While our arrival numbers are achieving new records, we must remain focused on delivering the very best Guam product to promote in our markets. That calls for reinvesting into our aging infrastructure, updating our level of hospitality and inviting new airlines to open up more flights to Guam."
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Meanwhile, the Guam Chamber of Commerce is not exactly quaking in its Gucci boots over North Korean threats.
"It is business as usual on Guam and the Guam Chamber of Commerce remains steadfast in its conviction that Guam is, and will continue to be, economically sound and is a safe and protected area to visit and do business," the chamber said in a statement.
"Our Government works around the clock with local and federal offices of Homeland Security, and our U.S. military to insure the safety of our island, our citizens and visitors at all times.
"We encourage members to stay diligent and make necessary precautions as any business would to protect the health and safety of its employees and patrons."