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By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Aug. 1) - Consider these
snapshots: Population, about 130,000; visitor arrivals, more than two million a
year; tourism marketing budget, about $3 million a year.

Sounds like what Guam could be in some distant future?

No, but Guam can learn some lessons from destination Cairns,
four flight hours from Guam.

The tropical Australian city, like Guam, values Japan as its
single largest source of tourists.

The difference is the extent of the two destinations' stakes in
the Japan visitor market.

Guam has, for years, relied on now economically weakened Japan
as the source of about 80 percent of tourists who visit the island. Guam saw
786,947 Japanese tourists last year, or 76 percent of the island's total visitor

Cairns' Japanese visitors make up about 30 percent of all
foreign tourists who visit the tropical city, according to Bill Calderwood,
chief executive officer of Cairns' tourism agency.

The rest of Cairns' sources of foreign visitors are well spread
out and include Europe and North America, according to Calderwood, who was part
of a Cairns delegation that visited Guam earlier this week.

Diversification of visitor markets is something that Cairns
adheres to.

"We try to have a spread," Calderwood said. When one
visitor market is down, Cairns' visitor industry still has other markets to
count on, he added.

Guam Visitors Bureau has projected that tourist arrivals this
year are expected to number about 800,000 -- the first time in several years
that Guam visitor numbers will fall below one million a year.

Double-digit declines in Japanese tourist arrivals have weighed
down Guam's visitor industry.

Cairns' international visitors total about 800,000 a year and an
additional 1.4 million tourists from within Australia also visit Cairns,
according to the Cairns delegation.

Cairns' tourism marketing budget is about $3 million a year,
according to the delegation.

This coming fiscal year, which starts in October, Guam Visitors
Bureau plans to spend $8.5 million in tourism marketing in Japan out of its
proposed total marketing budget of almost $11.2 million, according to a GVB
budget presentation in the Legislature Wednesday.

But while Guam and Cairns can be considered tourism competitors,
the two are working on building ties as well.

The Cairns delegation, led by its mayor, Kevin Byrne, met with
Gov. Felix Camacho to discuss efforts toward establishing a memorandum of
understanding on tourism and trade relations.

The Cairns delegations also included David Maguire, chief
executive officer of the city's economic development agency, and Pennie Burke,
marketing manager with the Cairns port agency.

Cairns is wooing members of the island's military community to
visit Cairns, and the city's delegation met with military officials on island as
part of that effort.

Guam and Cairns can develop dual destination packages to the
Japanese market, according to the delegation.

For example, Japanese tourists can visit Guam for two days and
continue on to Cairns, according Calderwood.

Continental Airlines offers direct flights between Guam and
Cairns in addition to its direct service between Guam and Japan.

Cairns' mayor said the city also offers quality education and
health-care services opportunities for Guam.

August 1, 2003

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