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GVB preparing for China visa waiver

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - We may be just days away from garnering approval of the China visa waiver, but until then the Guam Visitors Bureau is amping up marketing and preparing the industry for the fastest growing outbound market worldwide. By the year 2015 the World Tourism Organization estimates the China outbound market to grow to 100 million travelers.

According to the Guam Visitors Bureau, if the island could capture just 1% of that market, we could increase our gross domestic product by $1 billion, which as of 2011, stands just north of $4 billion. GVB general manager Karl Pangelinan said, "So this is an exciting time for tourism and travel to our island and GVB is working to ensure Guam remains globally competitive as a world class destination of choice for all of our visitors," he said.

At tomorrow's symposium, Beijing-based tourism officials are slated to speak on how to better understand Chinese travelers as well as how to meet their needs and capture the maximum benefits of the market, who now beat out Germany as the world's highest spenders. Pangelinan admits the industry has plenty of work ahead to cater to the newer market. Unlike our dominant Japanese market, higher-end Chinese spenders have higher expectations.

Ivy Alliance Tourism Consulting CEO Dr. Xinjun Wang said, "The biggest difference between Japanese visitors and Chinese visitors is that Chinese travelers today usually consume more when doing their outbound travels...for an island destination like Guam, Chinese high-end travelers usually have higher expectations for facilities like hotels."

Pangelinan says we're taking steps in the right direction, not just to add capacity, but higher end rooms. GVB also recently attended a hotel investment conference. As we wait for favorable news from homeland security on the China visa waiver, GVB is already moving forward. "We will continue to market aggressively to the already visa China traveler, which like I mentioned represents millions of outbound travelers right now who already have visas for the U.S.," he said.

The symposium runs from 8am-5pm tomorrow at the Hyatt Regency Guam. 

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