The Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) has announced that the final two months of Fiscal Year 2019 broke new records, resulting in Guam achieving its best fiscal year to date with a total of 1.63 million visitors.
Based on the latest average on-island expenditures, the economic impact for fiscal year 2019 was an estimated $946.5 million, representing a 52.3 percent increase in on-island visitor spend over the previous year.
According to GVB’s exit surveys, the average on-island spend as of the third quarter in 2019 was $580.30, an increase of about $200 over 2018’s $381.14 for the same period. Among Guam’s top two source markets, Japan reported increases over the previous year in food and beverage (+19.6%), shopping (+13.2%) and transportation (+36.2%) while the Korean market spent more on accommodations (+74.2%) and at the airport terminal (+98.2%).
August arrivals ended with 159,856 visitors (+9.6%), becoming the best month in Guam’s tourism history. Part of the boost in arrivals can be attributed to an additional 119 flights that were scheduled from Japan to Guam. The Japan market continued to show its recovery with a 23.4% increase in Japanese travelers when compared to last year.
September arrivals also finished strong with 137,680 visitors (+21.8%) to become the top September of all time, breaking last year’s record of 113,065 visitors. In addition, the Japan market demonstrated a substantial recovery with a 53.6% increase when compared to September 2018. Korea arrivals also grew to 61,412 visitors (+6.3%).
“We’ve achieved a new fiscal year milestone with over 1.63 million visitors for the first time in our history in tourism. We also achieved the best August and September of all time. This is fantastic news, especially seeing the increase in the economic impact when compared to last year,” said GVB President and CEO Pilar Laguaña. “I want to thank our partners in the travel trade, airlines, local government, private sector and other stakeholders for supporting our tourism industry, as well as the GVB Board of Directors and staff.”
Laguaña added, “We have much work ahead especially to improve our product and service as a destination. We remain committed to updating our strategic plan for the next chapter of tourism on Guam.”
GVB is currently working on its Survey of Tourism Attitudes of Residents or STAR report. The report will provide valuable insights into how residents feel about tourism’s impact on Guam’s economy and the overall quality of life on the island.
“While the increase in visitor spending is great news for our local economy, it is equally important to understand the sentiments of our local people; in how tourism is affecting their quality of life of Guam,” said GVB Director of Tourism Research Nico Fujikawa. “As we look to improve our destination, it is crucial that we first start with our people. The key to attracting quality visitors begins with a quality experience for both visitors and locals alike.”
Meanwhile, Guam’s winter season will be busy as different carriers will add approximately 115,000 more seats through March 2020.
United has increased its flights to 10 times weekly between Guam and Osaka, creating an additional 6,400 seats during the winter season. It also has three additional flights weekly between Guam and Nagoya, expanding the frequency to twice-daily flights starting October 28, 2019.
Japan Airlines has also upgraded to a Boeing 777 for its Guam to Narita service as of August 1, 2019, providing an additional 113 seats than the previous B-767 aircraft it was operating.
Between Korean Air, Air Seoul, Air Busan, Jin Air and Jeju Air, there are now over 70,000 additional seats that will be available through March 2020.
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