26 Mar 2012

Tourism fall-back for Guam businesses during build-up uncertainty

5:05 pm on 26 March 2012

The president of Guam's Chamber of Commerce says uncertainty over the planned military build-up is prompting many of the territory's businesses to look to tourism for survival.

Fewer than 5,000 troops are now expected to be relocated from Okinawa to Guam, about half the number agreed under a broader 2006 accord to reorganise United States forces in Japan by 2014.

David Leddy says while the deployment's downsizing has definitely had an impact on the commercial sector, approval of the Russia visa waiver programme has been a boost for businesses reinventing themselves.

"And we're currently working on the China visa waiver programme. So, tourism is our primary industry so a lot of our companies are looking in that direction as well in terms of being able to stay in business."

David Leddy says although the chamber has always been pro-build-up, it has been aware that the scope and timing of the transfer could change.