Governor attends GVB Korea appreciation party, meets with key travel leaders
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero says she made inroads to getting more Korean visitors to Guam during her trip to Korea last week.
She was in Seoul last week for a year-end appreciation party thrown by the Guam Visitors Bureau's Korea office.
Over 200 attended the event, which was held at the upscale Conrad Hotel.
Korean and Japanese visitors comprise the biggest draws for Guam's tourism market - the two countries routinely neck and neck in the numbers game, but Korea maintains a slight edge, comprising 45% of our arrivals, with Japan a close second at 41%.
This trend began in 2017, and at the event, GVB touted its social media #InstaGuam campaign as part of the reason Guam has seen more arrivals from Incheon, Busan and Seoul.
The governor said she had healthy talks with at least one major Korean airline head.
"Jeju president and CEO sees the value of the business from Guam and has some good strategies and good projects coming down that would expand more the frequency of travel between South Korea to Guam," she said.
GVB Korea head Jay Park also told attendees Guam has set a new record in "the spotlight as an alternative to Japan and Hong Kong."
GVB president and CEO Pilar Laguana, meanwhile, pledged tourism infrastructure improvements to better deal with anticipated increases in Korean tourists.
In attendance at the "year-end appreciation celebration," - US Ambassador to Korea Harry Harris Jr.
Harris called Guam a "significant area" in the United States and also spoke on our post-war "revival" saying he anticipates the "activation of the U.S. Korea private exchange," according to media reports of the event.
The governor said she had good dialogue with Harris.
"Their mission there is to improve commerce between the U.S. and Korea and GVB and our industry falls right in line with what their mission is," Leon Guerrero said. "He's (Harris) very supportive and he was very impressed of our visitor arrivals - 734,000 were from Korea. That's about a 45% market from Korea."