American writer and poet Maya Angelou said, “… If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you are going.”
Terry Pratchett — an equally prolific English writer — added to that and said, “… If you don’t know where you are going, you are probably going wrong.”
As we pass the halfway mark in 2021, those of us in business know where we’ve come from — 2020 — a year like no other.
It is a year in which tourism ground to a halt everywhere.
In July 2020, the Guam Visitors Bureau revised its fiscal 2021 estimate of tourism numbers from 251,000 to 400,000. A year later, GVB is talking about 70,000 to 85,000 conservatively for the fiscal year, and 130,000 optimistically as a stretch goal.
So far, 31,749 visitors have arrived in Guam in 2021, many of them from the U.S. military, and some of those stay in island hotels.
It’s wonderful that the island saw its first flight from Taiwan touch down on July 6, but with unpredictable COVID spikes in the region’s source markets, it is better that GVB is realistic and interprets the state of the industry on which its members depend as accurately as it can.
Palau has already received visitors from Taiwan; the Northern Mariana Islands is betting on Korean visitors initially and has also received a visa waiver for visitors from Hong Kong.
According to the Guam Department of Labor, Guam reached its highest rate of unemployment in December 2020 at 19.4%. While the end of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance approaches in September, prospects for employment exist, but may be limited in an industry that is on its knees, if no longer lying flat.
The two people I quote overcame life’s challenges.
The individuals we feature on our cover and in our pages represent companies and organizations that are an integral part of the hospitality and restaurant industry. These are companies and organizations who continue to overcome challenges, and have thoughts and plans for the future, to include expansion.
While the future may still be uncertain, they know where they are going.