With the number of COVID positive cases continuing to go down, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero is considering the reopening of Guam’s tourism industry by March this year.
In an interview with NewsTalk K57’s Patti Arroyo, the governor said that as the COVID community spread continues to decrease, she is willing to re-examine her administration’s policy towards tourism.
The island’s visitor industry has essentially been shut down since March, resulting in millions of dollars of lost revenue and unemployment for a lot of tourism industry workers.
“The beginning of the second quarter is where we can probably … if the numbers remain low and our vaccination program continues … then I am very willing to look at our quarantine protocols and make changes there. I have already alerted the Guam Visitors Bureau that we’re thinking about maybe allowing visitors to come … we’re targeting like the end of the first quarter,” Leon Guerrero said.
She added that GVB has continued its marketing work with Guam’s primary tourism markets in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, keeping these markets updated about the health and safety measures that Guam tourism businesses have been adopting.
“Taiwan, we’ve been in good communication and relationship with Taiwan. And they are ready to, you know, travel. You are also starting to see some increases in South Korea and also Japan. They will travel if they know that the area or the destination that they’re coming to is safe. And we are going to provide information out there to say that our area is safe,” Leon Guerrero said.
She added: “And so, we’re looking like maybe the beginning of the second quarter or the end of the first quarter. So that’s March, April, May … you know, I’m looking at trying to get back to some normalcy. I really am very optimistic that we can do so in the next six months.”
GVB has also stated that it expects the start of some semblance of recovery for the industry by this year. However, the bureau doesn’t expect a full recovery for tourism until at least two years down the road.
The governor stressed that she will only consider reopening tourism if the COVID-positive numbers continue to go down and so far, the administration’s COVID mitigation measures have been working.
“You can see from the data we are sharing with you through Public Health that our metrics are showing that we have been very successful in containing the virus so far. We’re not seeing any surges from the Thanksgiving holiday. We’re looking to see now what’s going to happen with the Christmas holidays and the New Year. But we have contained it. And we have, for the most part, been on a very downward trajectory in all our metrics. Even our admissions at the hospital have gone down. And so those are good signs and we want to keep it that way,” the governor said.
(Source: PNC Guam)