GUAM VISITOR COUNT SLIPS 8 PERCENT IN 2009

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Hotel occupancy averaged 60 percent

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 1, 2010) – Guam counted 1,021,127 million tourists in 2009 through the third week of December, according to preliminary Guam Visitors Bureau statistics.

That's 8 percent shy of the 1.1 million counted during that same period the year before, the preliminary numbers show.

Japan had 751,892 tourists that chose Guam for their overseas vacation in 2009, down 3.6 percent compared to the same period in 2008.

South Korean tourist arrivals to Guam nose-dived 28 percent, to 74,454 last year compared to 2008.

With less travelers from Japan and South Korea, the hotels saw sales -- and the hotel and sales taxes they pay to the local government -- dip.

The average hotel occupancy last year slid to 60 percent from 64 percent in 2008.

Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association statistics released yesterday also show that the average price of a room dipped 7 percent to $106 last year, when overall tourist arrivals on Guam shrunk by 10 percent between January and early October.

The visitors bureau had projected in November that Guam would end 2009 with about 1.05 million tourists.

The island's visitor industry saw visitor arrivals increase 22 percent in September 2009, which was the best monthly increase in four years, GVB General Manager Gerry Perez said in November.

The first half of last year, however, showed double-digit declines, so overall tourist arrivals by 2009's end would fall short of the 1.14 milli

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