GHRA's Rhodes: Guam becoming less competitive - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GHRA's Rhodes: Guam becoming less competitive

Posted: Aug 09, 2018 4:43 PM Updated:

The president of the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association warns that Guam is becoming less competitive as it becomes more expensive for Japanese travelers compared to other popular destinations across the region. Speaking before the Rotary Club on Thursday, Mary Rhodes says she did a random fare check online and Guam happened to top the list in terms of cost.

She said, "This is straight from Narita going to Agana, Sydney, Honolulu all the way to Bali, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and two places within China. And you'll see the rates. To go to Shanghai its $246, and to go to Honolulu its $688, to go all the way to Sydney its $739. Guam is the highest at $765."

Rhodes welcomes the move by lawmakers to pull back an amendment to the current budget bill under discussion that would have raised the hotel occupancy tax from 11 percent to 13 percent.

She was critical of another recent bill from Senators Wil Castro and Joe S. San Agustin to impose a $50 travel insurance fee on visitors, recalling, "If you notice in that bill, if you ever read it, and I encourage all of you to read it, it is pork barreling at its best. It introduces funding for every other agency out there. And only 25 percent is identified for the hospital which is what it claims to fix. So it's a really bad bill because even the airport was not mentioned, GVB was not mentioned, or any way to collect this."

Rhodes says another important trend to watch is the big drop in local spending by the Japanese visitor market, which has a significant impact on the a large segment of the industry that relies on that spend.

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