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Guam enjoys record breaking tourism

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 by Isa Baza

Guam - Last year Guam had a record breaking number of tourist arrivals. Who's cashing in? During 2014 Guam received a number of tourist arrivals that broke the previous two record breaking years. Korea arrivals were up by over 25%, with the People's Republic of China arrivals up 45%, and Russia arrivals up over 100%.

Guam Visitors Bureau general manager Karl Pangelinan told KUAM News, "2014 saw a banner year, not just for GVB, but for Guam, I mean it's no secret that tourism is a big part of our economic engine here on Guam, and so in 2014 we welcomed over 1.34 million visitors." He says that all this comes along with a double-digit decrease out of our primary market, Japan, as well as lower Russian arrivals at the end of last year.

However, GVBb's diversification efforts have more than compensated for these losses, as Pangelinan added, "There are some challenges in market, you know the Rubel's not doing too well, they're experiencing some economic issues that are really out of our hands."

Still, Pangelinan is optimistic for 2015. You might be wondering, however, how much do rising tourist arrivals really benefit our economy?

Hilton sales manager Johnny Lee says growth in business has been exponential. He said, "To be honest, 2012, 2013 and 14 has been amazing, the growth of tourism in Guam and the hospitality industry has really boosted us over the past maybe three years."

Outback Steakhouse manager, Salina Evaristo, shared these sentiments, saying the restaurant is fortunate to be in the center of the main tourist hub in Tumon, noting, "I think any time the numbers are up, you know everywhere in Guam is impacted by that 0032 so fortunately we did do good."

Smaller businesses that are outside of this hub, however, may not be seeing as drastic results. Coconut Villa manager Phoebe Kelm said, "Some months that were supposed to be slow to us were surprisingly busy months for us, other than that we've seen a variety of tourists come by but it's still pretty much the same."

With tourism numbers up, GVB hopes this will translate to greater gains in the Guam economy. 
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