GUAM TOURISM REBOUND ELUSIVE

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By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (May 21, 2002 – Pacific Daily News)---Guam April visitor arrival numbers show the tourism rebound many hope for remains elusive.

Consider Japan, Guam's No. 1 source of tourists.

Visitor numbers from Japan show the decline in arrivals eased during the first three months of the year: Japanese visitor arrivals were down 35 percent in January, 29 percent in February and 21 percent in March.

But April 2002 Japanese arrivals show a deeper plunge: down 31 percent compared to the same month last year.

In April this year, Guam had 53,428 Japanese tourists, down from 77,475 in April last year, according to Guam

Visitors Bureau statistics

Guam received 28 percent fewer visitors overall in April 2002, down to 75,597 from 104,726 in April 2001, the GVB numbers show.

Report

A GVB report on April statistics cites a report by Japanese travel wholesale company JTB Corp. as stating Japanese travel overseas, even during Japan's April 25 to May 5 ''Golden Week,'' remained dampened by the impact of Sept. 11, the weakening of the Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar and ''lethargic'' economic conditions that continue to plague overseas travel.

Arrivals from Japan to Guam during ''Golden Week'' tumbled 25 percent, from 33,542 to 22,818 visitors, according to the GVB April report.

While visitor arrivals from Japan continued to drop for the fourth straight month this year, visitor arrivals from Guam's No. 2 tourist market, South Korea, rose 43 percent in April to 10,487 visitors, 46 percent in March, 87 percent in February and 20 percent January from their 2001 levels, according to the GVB numbers.

Guam's tourism industry has launched efforts to try to prop up the declining number of Japanese tourists, including a recently written local law authorizing the visitors bureau to borrow $6 million, mostly for marketing in the Japan market.

Guam government and private sector leaders also recently pushed for the development of a tourist market consisting of visitors from mainland China.

Last April, Guam saw the number of mainland Chinese tourists rise 81 percent -- from 78 to 141 visitors, according to GVB numbers.

For additional reports from the Pacific Daily News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Pacific Daily News (Guam).

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