Bill seeks to jump-start cruise industry efforts – The Guam Daily Post

While the development of Guam as a hub for cruise ships has been static, new legislation renews efforts by exploring a public-private partnership to develop Guam as a home port for the Micronesia region.

The Legislature’s committee on tourism publicly heard Bill 167-34 yesterday at the Guam Congress Building in Hagåtña. Introduced by Sen. Dennis Rodriguez, the bill directs the Guam Visitors Bureau to develop and publish a request for information (RFI) relative to developing Guam as a home port for cruise ships.

The concept involves having cruise ships visit various port stops in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia.

Rodriguez said the RFI would be used to solicit public or community interest with the intent of shaping the policy direction for the development, management and operation of the cruise ship industry on Guam.

This includes determining potential partnerships with private companies, as well as planning for infrastructure development to support the industry.

‘A great opportunity’

“After the RFI, all the information is gathered, whether we should as a community move forward in developing Guam as a home port or if for some reason, if it is not viable or feasible, to exert our energy into something else,” Rodriguez said.

According to Rodriguez, for years, GVB has invested a total of $200,000 in the Micronesian Cruise Association (MCA) to find ways to develop the local cruise industry. With the passage of the fiscal year 2018 budget, instead of allocating $50,000 for membership fees into the MCA, the funds have been directly placed into GVB’s home porting program.

Monte Mesa, GVB board vice chairman, said he supports the bill’s intent to determine a policy direction, “to ensure that the agencies leading this are committed to getting this done.”

According to Mesa, GVB Vice President Antonio Muna and Guam Economic Development Authority Deputy Administrator Mana Taijeron have been designated by Gov. Eddie Calvo as the lead entities to develop the home-ported cruise liner concept.

“We see this as a great opportunity to expand our economic profile under Guam’s largest economic contributor – tourism – as well as provide employment opportunity to our people,” Muna and Taijeron said in a joint statement in support of the bill.

Interest in the industry

Interest in developing a cruise industry on Guam has been explored for years.

Rodriguez said the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures (APIL) recommended that the Micronesian governments look into the industry with several resolutions over the years.

According to GVB’s Tourism 2020 Plan, the industry can no longer be dependent on a single source market and the cruise industry presents a new opportunity for the industry. One of these opportunities is to develop Guam as a hub for cruise ships.

GVB said Guam is well-suited to serve as a home base for a small Micronesian regional cruise ship and to accommodate visiting ships.

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