South-east Asia is emerging as the new darling of Guam, as the US island territory steps up promotion efforts in the region in hopes of attracting travellers from key markets like Singapore and Malaysia.
Guam Visitors Bureau’s (GVB) marketing manager – North America & Pacific, Mark Manglona, told TTG Asia at the recently-concluded PATA Travel Mart: “Our main tourist markets are Japan, South Korea, the US and Taiwan, so we’re trying to diversify our visitor market profile. We hope to meet agents from Malaysia, Singapore and other parts of South-east Asia.”
Travellers from Singapore have been on the rise, and the bureau has begun monitoring Malaysia’s arrivals since January, he said.
Earlier this month, its delegation held a presentation in Kuala Lumpur with Philippine Airlines and Korean Airlines to 15 local travel agents. In Singapore, the bureau has brought a product showcase to key travel agents, accompanied by Philippine Airlines (PAL), United Airlines and other US commercial travel services.
“Guam is still a relatively new destination to this part of the world. Ninety per cent of the people we met did not know that Guam is a US territory or that there is a visa waiver for Malaysian passport holders. It’s going to take a lot of education and marketing efforts,” said Manglona.
He added that GVB has been working closely with travel agents and airlines. For example, Kuala Lumpur-based Apple Vacation has been selling travel packages to Guam, and PAL is pushing out promotional prices for flights to Guam.
Agents will soon be invited on a fam tour via Philippine Airlines, shared Manglona.
Concurrently, GVB is escalating its marketing efforts in traditional markets like South Korea and Japan, despite dipping arrival numbers from the latter.
“We get a lot of repeat visitors from Japan and a healthy number of arrivals year after year,” Manglona remarked. “We have aggressive plans to revive the Japan market, and we also have airlines adding additional seats to Guam.”