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DESPITE the uncertainties surrounding the military buildup and the triple disasters in Japan that hurt Guam tourism last year, the local economy proved its resilience once again with business activity showing a 7.99 percent growth from last year.
According to First Hawaiian Bank’s third quarter business activity report released yesterday, total sales for all sectors reached $72.6 million during the third quarter, compared to $67.2 million during the same period last year.
The restaurant industry raked in the biggest gain at 23.78 percent, followed by travel activities with 18.35 percent, and hotels posting 16.57 percent.
Laura Dacanay, FHB senior vice president and region manager for Guam and the CNMI, said the figures were based on “same store” credit and debit card sales transactions over the third quarter of 2011.
“The Guam business activity report tracks credit and debit card sales activity in 10 different economic sectors including retail, hotel, home improvement, restaurants, and travel activities, among others,” according to a press release issued by FHB, a major processor of debit and credit card sales transactions.
“In 2011, the bank processed over $4.1 billion worth of credit and debit card sales transactions in Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, Guam and the CNMI, an 8 percent increase over 2010,” FHB said.
Dacanay said the double-digit growth in restaurants, travel activities and the hotel sectors indicated Guam’s tourism “continues to improve with increased visitor arrivals.”
Guam welcomed the island’s millionth visitor on Tuesday and industry stakeholders anticipate a record-breaking year by the end of 2012.
The business boom on Guam defied the bleak forecast made last year by market analysts, who warned that the Japan earthquake and protracted negotiations over the military buildup would result in a gloomy economy in 2012.
Since January, however, Guam has been riding a wave of good news which started with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s granting of parole to Russian travelers.
For stakeholders, Tanota Partners’ soon-to-be-completed Dusit Thani Guam Resort – a 417-room luxury hotel in Tumon – also represents optimism for the hospitality industry.