Buenas yan håfa adai! Here at the Guam Visitors Bureau, you can assume the very reason for our existence is to promote Guam and attract visitors to our beautiful island. Based on record-breaking visitor arrivals in 2015 and 2016, you can say we’re on the right track, right?
Yes, it’s safe to say we’re trending right. However, there are far more important highlights to mention than just breaking records and that comes with our commitment to the community to derive maximum benefits for our people and to continue to make Guam a better place to live, work and visit.
Whether it’s GVB sponsoring a local event, doing streetlight repairs, executing roadside maintenance projects, beach cleanups or managing and sustaining our natural and historic sites, we at the bureau remain committed toward benefitting the community.
Most recently, legislation authored by Sen. Thomas Morrison and passed by the 33rd Guam Legislature allowed for funding from the Tourist Attraction Fund to support Guam’s athletes and cultural practitioners with overseas travel expenses.
Under the program, local individuals and nonprofit groups/teams may apply for the ambassador grant to assist their efforts to take part in off-island activities and events. Contests, exhibitions, tournaments and trade shows are among the approved activities and events. The grant program aims to help as many qualified applicants as possible, but is subject to the availability of funds. Applicants may receive travel support of up to 50 percent of total travel costs, but never to exceed $5,000 for an individual or team regardless of the total amount of players listed.
As of March 2017, 19 individuals and/or teams were awarded grant support under the ambassador program. They include:
- Skip Entertainment Dance Troupe;
- Team Urban Fitness;
- Cal Ripken Baseball 11- to 12-year-olds;
- Purebred Jiu Jitsu Academy;
- Sindalun Guahan Men’s Softball Team;
- Guam Island Softball Association;
- Aeromodelers Club of Guam;
- Outrigger Guam Canoe;
- Guam Basketball Confederation;
- Gregory Monk Body Building;
- Submit International;
- Ronald S. Acfalle;
- Figo/Bonsai Jiu Jitsu;
- Friars Wrestling Team;
- Guam Women’s Basketball Association;
- Guam National Junior Golf Federation;
- For Peace Band;
- Guma Kinalamten I Taotao Tano; and
- Purebred Jiu Jitsu Kids.
When we achieve great things such as breaking tourism arrival records, we also create opportunities to assist our people and to improve our island. We are excited to assist with this program. Our sports and cultural ambassadors who represent Guam overseas help spread the håfa adai spirit abroad. More importantly, they help share the beauty of our island through sports, cultural sharing and exchange.
Our experiences with people abroad and on Guam reflect our community. Whether you are showing sportsmanship at a game in the U.S. mainland or giving directions to a tourist in Tumon, you are making an impression that helps Guam shine.
We often hear visitors describe how friendly and helpful Guam’s people are. We thank all of you who exemplify our island hospitality. We count on you to keep the welcome warm.
Nathan Denight is president and CEO of the Guam Visitors Bureau. Email him at [email protected]