Korean Air bookings increase | Guam News


Airline bookings have increased as more Guam tourism businesses such as Fish Eye Marine Park reopen, supported by easing travel restrictions and improving COVID-19 vaccination in Korea .

Korean Air’s bookings to Guam in November and December have already passed 65 percent and are expected to continue growing, according to Joo-ho Byeon, group head of sales management for Korean Air.

“The load factor, or the actual embarkation, could be over 70%, so we’re very optimistic,” Byeon told the Guam Daily Post during the Guam Visitors Bureau’s Guam Again Trade Show at the Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort on Wednesday.

Byeon is part of a 48-member delegation from Korean airlines, travel and travel groups and media representatives, as well as media influencers, that GVB is hosting this week.

They are there on a familiarization tour to promote travel to Guam among Koreans, the island’s main home market for arrivals, overtaking Japan for the spot in recent years.

The familiarization tour is the first of its kind since March 2020, when Guam went through its first pandemic lockdown.

As part of the tour, the show allowed Korean travel agents, airline representatives and media to connect directly with 23 of Guam’s tourism suppliers.

Among them were cultural attractions, shopping malls, water sports operators, magic shows, hotels, car rental companies, air tours, telephone companies and the University of Guam, which has promoted its short-term English adventure program for international students.

‘Launching ramp’

Besides the fair, the Korean group was also able to visit popular attractions and places.

“(The show) is very important because we are all trying to restart the tourism industry and as we have been saying for a long time, Korea is a handy fruit based on the developments there in terms of vaccination… and flexibility and provision of additional air seats, and so we’re very encouraged by that, ”said Gerry Perez, vice president of GVB.

The show, he said, is “almost like the launching pad … to invigorate our arrivals.”

“We are ready to accommodate whatever we can get now as we gradually expand. Then, of course, the value chain would increase as well,” he said.

Perez said that “more and more airlines are scheduling limited service right now,” and more and more tourism-related businesses are reopening.

The Fish Eye Marine Park’s underwater observatory, the only one of its kind in Micronesia, will reopen on November 20, about 20 months since it closed in March 2020, according to Hideaki Osanai, marine park sales and customer service manager.

Osanai said he looks forward to welcoming local residents, military personnel and their families again, as well as tourists from Korea and other Asian countries and other places.

Day trips from Fish Eye will resume on December 4, he said. The resumption of the dinner show will be announced at a later date, the official said.

Jungle cruise, parasailing

Valley of the Latte Adventure Park has also started to see Korean tourists during their jungle river cruise and cultural activities, according to KangDon Lee, the Korean director of the park.

Since last year, most visitors to the park have been military and local residents, he said.

Katsuhito Yamane, general manager of Guam Ocean Park and Apra Dive & Marine Sports, said they had recently resumed most of their operations, with mostly local residents and military personnel as clients.

But in recent weeks, he said, they’ve also started seeing Korean customers again.

Parasailing, he said, continues to be the most sought-after activity among water sports. Guam is also a destination for diving and snorkeling.

At a meeting in October, GVB officials said the number of plane seats from Korea could reach 432,261 in fiscal year 2022, with a conservative occupancy factor of 50 percent, or approximately 217,932 passengers.

Guam’s arrivals for FY2021 reached just 60,343, a deep plunge from the pre-pandemic record of 1.6 million in FY2019.

With more pandemic restrictions lifted as the number of new cases declines, the number of arrivals will begin to rise, GVB officials said.

Korean Air’s Byeon said the increase in airline bookings to Guam could be attributed to easing travel requirements to Guam and Korea for fully vaccinated Korean travelers.

The Korean Air executive said that at the hotel he was staying at, he had seen an increased number of Korean couples in recent days.

Health and security

GVB board chairman Milton Morinaga at the show’s opening ceremonies said companies in Guam are replenishing their workforce and preparing to reopen.

“We want you to know that we are committed to protecting the health and safety of our residents and visitors,” he said. “Our local industrial partners are delighted to meet you. We are delighted to be able to see you walking our shores and look forward to the day when we can come together to celebrate, face to face. We wish you a pleasant stay in Guam and watch looking forward to your support in promoting Guam in Korea. “

Perez told show attendees that while the pandemic has crippled many businesses, it has also given some the opportunity to renovate their properties, restructure their systems and make long-awaited improvements.

“It’s not business for us in Guam anymore as they have embraced this new paradigm, this new normal of living with COVID and will move forward with further improvements as we invite more visitors to enjoy the beauty. and Guam attractions, ”he said.

In Kook, Kim, Head of Mission of the Republic of Korea Consulate in Guam, also welcomed the Korean delegation and shared his own experience of enjoying and exploring the “breathtaking natural beauty” of Guam.

But while more tourism-related businesses have reopened or are reopening soon, more are still pending, Perez said.

“They have different financial viability thresholds. Some of them can operate at limited hours, others can just wait for it to increase further. But for the most part, we encourage them to open up,” he said. -he declares.

The governor and the legislature have pledged a grant of up to $ 50 million for businesses affected by a pandemic such as local tourist attractions that have been excluded from previous federal pandemic grants.

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