FY2016 smashes 1997 record in tourism arrivals

October 11, 2016

“Tourists come to Guam for many reasons – white sandy beaches, diving, blue skies, warm smiles, great culture. Guam is an amazing destination! Hosting 1.51 million visitors means we have found success in working collaboratively with our public and private partners in tourism. I congratulate the Guam Visitors Bureau and the men and women in our number one industry on a job well done.”

— Governor Eddie Baza Calvo


1.5 million people traveled to Guam

More than 1.5 million men, women and children traveled to Guam’s shores in the last fiscal year. From October 2015 to September 2016, Fiscal Year 2016, 1,510,944 people from around the globe came to our island — that’s more than nine times our population. Those numbers also place the most recent fiscal year at the top of Guam’s charts, surpassing a near-20 year record in 1997 with 1,411,447 by almost 100,000 visitors.

The record-breaking year was anchored by several record-breaking months, including September 2016, which became the best September in Guam’s history with 133,629 visitors recorded.

Korea, China and Philippines break new records

The budding visitor markets of Korea and the Republic of China also enjoyed the best fiscal year in visitor arrivals. Korea was up 35.2% over FY2015 recording 519,430 visitors, while the Republic of China demonstrated an 11.4% growth over FY2015 with 26,271 visitors. The Philippines also had the best fiscal year in arrivals with 18,704 visitors coming to Guam, a 52.3% increase when compared to FY2015.

“It’s no surprise that tourism arrivals continue to grow. People fall in love with our island over and over again because of the warm hospitality of our people and the uniqueness of our Chamorro culture,” said Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio. “That’s why tourism works for our community because it provides jobs and opportunities that attract visitors to Guam, while placing our people first.”

Signature events supported growth of visitors

“Achieving the best fiscal year of all time can be attributed to many different events that drew visitors to Guam and the success of the Visit Guam 2016 campaign,” said GVB President and CEO Nathan Denight.

“The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Annual Summit and Festival of Pacific Arts were two of the biggest events that gained worldwide attention and brought thousands to the island in 2016. We are so proud of the hard work and dedication from our board of directors, management and staff at the Bureau, but our work is not over yet.

“Our momentum continues with the “Year of Love” theme for Visit Guam 2017 into next year as we seek to accomplish the goals laid out in the Tourism 2020 strategic plan. Si Yu’os Ma’ase to Governor Calvo, Lt. Governor Tenorio, Senator Barnes, the Guam Legislature and all of our tourism partners for their support of this industry and doing their part in making Guam the best place to live, work and visit,” Denight noted.

GVB signature events in the last year such as the Guam Ko’ko’ Half Marathon and Ekiden Relay, Shop Guam Festival, New Year’s Eve Fireworks, Guam International Marathon, Guam Live International Music Festival, Guam BBQ Block Party, Guam Summer Beach Fest and other activities also helped in bringing visitors to experience Guam in many different ways.

Additionally, Valiant Shield contributed to the record number of arrivals for the month of September, with over 6,000 military personnel that came ashore for the duration of this military exercise.

September 2016: Record month

Guam welcomed 133,629 visitors in September 2016, 10.5% more when compared to the same period in the previous year. It was the best September in the island’s history! Fiscal Year-to-Date arrivals totaled 1,510,944, a 10.1% increase than the previous year, while total Calendar Year-to-Date arrivals have increased by 9.8%.

Guam’s top market of Japan demonstrated a slight decrease of 5.5% for the month of September while Korea arrivals showed a 23.1% increase. Additionally, Taiwan arrivals rose 13.9%. Other markets showing increased arrivals included the Philippines by 78.6%, Canada by 40%, the U.S. mainland by 28.4%, Hawaii by 16.9%, Palau by 42.1%, Europe by 7.3% and Vietnam by 8.3%. 

Media Contact: JOSH TYQUIENGCO - Public Information Officer