2016 smashes previous tourism records; Guam welcomed 1.53 million visitors

January 12, 2017

“We have reached a new era in our tourism industry. In 2016, we hosted the Festival of Pacific Arts and PATA Annual Summit, along with other great events that drew visitors to experience our island paradise in new ways.  I congratulate the Guam Visitors Bureau and all the men and women who continue to work hard day in and day out to welcome our guests and keep our Håfa Adai spirit alive.”

 —   Governor Eddie Baza Calvo


Best December & Best Year

People around the world love our island. So much so that December 2016 saw tourist numbers soar to 142,647, making it the best December in the history of tourism — and also boosting 2016 to the best year in Guam’s tourism history.

The Guam Visitors Bureau’s Research Department confirmed 1,535,410 visitors were recorded for calendar year 2016, surpassing last year’s numbers by 126,360 more visitors. 

“It’s been a phenomenal year for our island and we see how tourism has been working to benefit our people,” said Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio. “Governor Calvo and I stand ready to support tourism and the thousands of men and women in Guam’s number one industry. Congratulations to GVB and all of our tourism professionals on a job well done.”

Breakout markets

Two markets that excelled in 2016 were Korea and the Philippines. Korea arrivals soared to 544,954 visitors, making it a banner year for Guam’s second largest market. Guam also welcomed its 500,000th visitor from Korea on December 7th. The Philippines was the other breakout star of 2016, recording 21,657 visitors. That’s a 74.3% increase over calendar year 2015.

“To achieve 1.53 million visitors as Guam’s best year in tourism was no easy task,” said GVB President and CEO Nathan Denight.

“All of the successes of 2016 can be attributed to the hard work and dedication of my team and our partners in tourism to collectively share Guam’s unique story with the world. It was also just as important to work with the community to build upon the successful #OnlyonGuam campaign and help them understand how tourism dollars help support events, activities and programs that showcase our Chamorro culture and Håfa Adai spirit. Si Yu’os Ma’ase to Governor Calvo, Lt. Governor Tenorio, Senator Barnes, the Guam legislature and our industry partners for supporting tourism. We look forward to working with you all to promote the “Year of Love” and support the goals of the Tourism 2020 strategic plan.”

Summary of arrivals

Guam recorded 142,647 visitors for December 2016, which is a 7.7% increase when compared to 2015. Total Calendar Year-to-Date arrivals also increased by 9.0%, making 2016 the best calendar year in tourism for the island with 1,535,410 million visitors.

Japan arrivals for the month of December had a slight decrease of 2.7%, but arrivals from Korea soared by 19.6%. Aided by the launch of Hong Kong Express flights to Guam that started on December 15th, Hong Kong arrivals jumped by 94.9%.

Meanwhile, other markets also experienced growth in arrival numbers. Arrivals from the People’s Republic of China grew by 51.3%, while the Philippines increased 50.2%. Additionally, other markets that saw a boost in arrivals include Canada by 14.1%, Europe by 11.5%, Hawaii by 3.6% and Russia by 6.9%.

Media Contact: JOSH TYQUIENGCO - Public Information Officer