Håfa adai and welcome to my new column! As president and CEO of the Guam Visitors Bureau, I look forward to sharing information with you. I’ll provide updates on our plans and offer insights from our research. I’ll tell you about the exciting things that GVB is doing on and off island to celebrate Guam as a unique destination.
I also hope that you share your ideas with me for the continued growth of tourism, Guam’s primary industry. Your support is critical in keeping tourism working for the entire community.
We are building on our success last year, during which records were broken. After 1.53 million visitors came last year, 2016 became Guam’s best year in tourism to date.
We recently announced that last month became Guam’s best January in tourism to date. Guam recorded 5.2 percent more visitors in January 2017 compared with the same period last year.
More tourists, but fewer from Japan
While Guam’s largest market, Japan, dropped 9.1 percent, the second-largest market, South Korea, rose 15.3 percent. Visitor arrivals from Canada, China, Europe, the Philippines, Taiwan and the U.S. mainland also increased.
The Hong Kong market showed a notable increase with arrivals soaring by 287 percent last month. January marked the first full month of HK Express service.
Our initiatives aim to keep up this momentum. We’re excited about the Tourism Works campaign that highlights the direct and indirect benefits of the visitor industry. The yearlong campaign will show how tourism helps preserve our Chamorro culture, protect the environment, drive our economy and positively improve our quality of life.
Through various media platforms, the campaign is sharing the success stories of individuals, companies and organizations touched by tourism. You’ll hear the inspirational stories of local artists who are sharing their craft with the world. You’ll see the data that show how tourism dollars support public projects, from roads to tourist attractions.
We’re just as excited about our Visit Guam 2017: Year of Love campaign that will promote love for Guam, such as love of family and love of nature.
The campaign launched with the lighting of the Love Light Park in Tumon on Feb. 11. You won’t want to miss the park’s love-themed displays and heart-shaped tunnel of love.
We invite you to visit the park before it ends on March 17. Share your photos and videos of the park or anything else you love about Guam for a chance to win prizes. Submit photos and videos on love.visitguam.com or on social media by tagging @visitguamusa and using #withlovefromguam.
We also collaborated with local artists to release a limited edition “2017 Year of Love Chamorro Love Songs” album. Look out for the album’s release on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Shazam and Amazon in the next few weeks. All the proceeds from each song purchased will go directly back to the artists.
Please join us in supporting these initiatives and in promoting our island as the special place that it is. We all can do our part to make Guam a better place to live, work and visit.
Nathan Denight is president and CEO of the Guam Visitors Bureau. Email him at [email protected]