04 Jan 2018
- By Tihu Lujan – For Variety
HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — About 40,000 fewer tourists are expected to visit Guam in fiscal 2018 than in 2017, according to visitor-arrival projections confirmed by Guam Visitors Bureau President and Chief Executive Officer Nathan Denight.
Fiscal 2017 was Guam’s best year in tourism with 1.56 million visitors coming in from the island’s top two tourist markets — Japan and South Korea.
Due to some turbulence experienced in 2017, however, GVB officials expect visitor arrival numbers to drop to about 1.52 million tourists in fiscal 2018.
Between the island’s previous two fiscal years, only one month in 2017’s recorded Japanese visitor arrivals surpassed that of fiscal 2016, which broke records with 1.51 million tourists.
April 2017 saw about 500 more Japanese tourist arrivals than the same month in the fiscal year prior.
However, every other month in fiscal 2017 saw steep declines in the Japan market with as many as 20,000 fewer Japanese tourists visiting Guam in any given month compared to the previous fiscal year.
With the start of the new fiscal year, October 2017 hit a new low with only 34,489 Japanese tourists visiting Guam, compared to the 55,636 who visited the island in October 2016.
The loss of Japanese tourists negatively impacted most luxury retailers on island in 2017, according to Monte Mesa, general manager of Guam Premier Outlets and the Tumon Sands Plaza.
Despite the drop, tourist spending has “somewhat improved” in specific categories that cater more to the island’s dominant South Korean market, he adds.
For businesses to avoid any losses in 2018, they will need to adjust their marketing measures to fit the modern Korean tourist, rather than the traditional Japanese.
“The more important measurement is on-island expenditures,” Mesa said. “We hope that our Korean visitors’ on-island expenditures in 2018 can meet or exceed what the Japanese market has historically recorded.”
Denight attributed major airline pullouts in routes from Japan to Guam earlier in the year and hostile North Korean threats to Guam in the latter half of the year for the decline in numbers.
He expects the Japanese market to continue its current downward trajectory into early 2018, still reflecting backlash due to the North Korean threats.
“Our team has been working hard on recovery efforts in our source markets,” Denight said. “The next few months will definitely be very busy as we speak to existing and potential airline partners, encourage in-country diversification and promote our events and campaigns to draw more visitors.”
The South Korean market, now Guam’s top tourist market, made strong strides in 2017 with higher arrival numbers than any month in fiscal year 2016.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/101230-guam-1-56m-tourists-in-2017