February arrivals to Guam decline as Guam Tourism mitigates coronavirus impact
The Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) has released the preliminary visitor arrival reports for the first two months of 2020.
January arrivals finished strong with 157,479 visitors (+6.8%) welcomed to Guam. The month’s positive growth surpassed last year to become the best January in the island’s tourism history.
However, February arrivals recorded 116,630 visitors (-15%), showing the first signs of how the tourism industry is being affected by the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Guam was riding off the momentum of a record fiscal year with more routes and seasonal flights into the first month of 2020,” said GVB President and CEO Pilar Laguaña. “However, the novel coronavirus has now changed the tourism industry’s momentum globally. As we assess the long-term impact this will have on our local economy, we are committed to working together with our airline and industry partners to mitigate those effects and prepare a path forward. First and foremost, the health and safety of our people and visitors remain our top priority.”
Meanwhile, the GVB Board of Directors has developed a coronavirus task force to address and mitigate the effects and concerns of the tourism industry. The task force is comprised of members of the Board of Directors, the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association, A.B. Won Pat International Airport Authority, as well as GVB management and staff. This group continuously monitors source markets, communicates with overseas partners, and is developing recovery plans that will be activated at the proper time.
Visitor spending increases in the first quarter
GVB also completed its first-quarter visitor profile report for FY2020 (Oct.-Dec.). The report captures the first three months of the fiscal year and is based on GVB’s exit surveys.
Based on the new data, the overall average on-island spend per person has increased when compared to the same time period in FY2019. Visitors spent an average of $732.96, a 35.3% increase than the first quarter of FY2019.
Guam’s top two source markets showed an increase in on-island spending. Japanese visitors spent an average of $623.34 (+3.4%) per person, spending more on transportation (+15.6%) over the previous year. The Korean visitor spend grew significantly to $767.35 (+41.8%) per person, with travelers spending more on transportation (+61.1%) and at the A.B. Won Pat International Airport, Guam (+117.9%).
GVB’s exit surveys and reports can be found on its corporate website, guamvisitorsbureau.com