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By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Apr. 2) – After two months of six-digit visitor arrival numbers, last month's total went down to the five-digit territory.

Guam welcomed 95,831 visitors in March, spoiling benchmarks during the first two months of the year when the island saw tourist numbers exceed 100,000 a month.

The governor's office yesterday issued an upbeat press release, stating that last month's numbers reflect a 43-percent increase from March last year.

"With markets reporting positive growth, Guam's visitor industry is rapidly expanding, making the case for accelerated infrastructure improvements to keep up with the demand," Gov. Felix Camacho said in a press release.

When comparing this year's March visitor arrivals to those in March last year, however, it must be noted that Guam visitor arrivals plunged last year because of the lingering effects of Super typhoon Pongsona in December 2002 and fears over severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

Last month's total falls short compared to the 100,077 visitors who traveled to Guam in March 2002.

Camacho said by the end of the year, Guam will have welcomed almost 1.2 million visitors. Last year, visitor arrivals fell below one million for the first time in many years.

April 2, 2004

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