Continent of GuamGuam Continent
516 participants at the 516th annual peak of PWATA
516 representatives from more than 30 tourist destination around the world will meet on the Pacific for the first meeting of the Pacific Asia Travel Association's weekly summits. PATA has existed for more than half a centur y, but this is the first edition of a prestige meeting of global tourist professionals to be staged on the islands from Wednesday to Saturday.
What was Guam's sales argument to convince the big tourist organisation to put Guam on the global meeting agenda? Mario Hardy, head of PATA, did not have to think long and look for an explanation. Speaking at a Tuesday news briefing on the terrace in front of the Dusit Thani Guam Resort foyer, Hardy glanced to the side of the shore and into the skyline, where the ocean sparkles and tourist-roll.
It was this that PATA was selling to Guam, he said. Later, he referred to other features such as Guam's welcoming, hospitality that remind us of what Hawaiians were centuries ago: breathing, fresh outside fresh outdoors, which is a bonus for those who came from China or other smog-stricken towns; and the brief journey from Tokyo, Beijing, Manila, Bangkok and other Asiatic towns.
Virtually within a few flying hrs from some of the big Asiatic towns, Guam is out in the open, and PATA is assisting to bring Guam's strength to the fore for those global travellers who do not yet know the Isle. Initially, PATA was not sure if the multinational delegation knew exactly where Guam was, but as the participation shows, Guam clearly has an internat.
Speaking at a recent news briefing with PATA, Guam Visitors Bureau officers emphasized that the Dusit Thani Guam Resort's newest congress centre has made the resort an even more appealing location for hosting major global meetings such as PATA. In the Asia-Pacific area in general, what the tourist industry professionals will say about Guam and the tourist industry will influence the island's key economy.
Tourisme accounts for about 60 per cent of Guam's economic activity and has generated about 20,000 job opportunities, said Mark Baldyga, CEO of GVB. Baldyga said Guam is at a watershed, trying to become the "first-class tourist resort of choice", while continuing to grow in the midst of changing tourist malls.
Guam's percentage of travelers from Korea rose from 150,000 a year a few years ago to nearly 500,000 a year, Baldyga said. But the sector is also battling with the drop in incoming traffic from Guam's biggest visitors destination - Japan. It was the home of almost 80 per cent of more than 1. 3 million visitors every year.
Now the Japanese marekt has sunk nearer to 50 per cent of Guam's total arrival. On Thursday, the summit's major meeting will present big-name figures in the field of cosmopolitanism. GVB Executive Vice President of GVB Worldwide Markets, Pilar Laguana, said it was "a great privilege" for Guam to hold the world' s highpoint.
"PATA's top priority, the" PATA Secrets of the Blue Continent", is to investigate the issue of sustainability in this area.