WANDERLUST| Guam: shopping Mecca of the Pacific

PEOPLE also call it as “America’s Gateway to Asia” but at the rate of its popularity today, it is more like “Asia’s Gateway to America.”The tiny island of Guam, home to over 160,000 American citizens, gives its visitors a peek into American living while sustaining its rich local culture – a mix of Chamorro, Filipino, Japanese, and Spanish.

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The Guam Visitors Bureau promotes this US territory as a shopping destination. The presence of various retail outlets with Duty Free shipping has made Guam a magnet for shoppers of quality American merchandise at very friendly prices.

“We are positioning Guam as a shopping destination because of the tax free shopping. We have high brands, outlet stores, stores that are open 24 hours, stores that are open unitl 1 a.m. It is practically 24/7 shopping in Guam,” said Guam Visitors Bureau market account director Carmel R. Carpio.

GVB credits its vibrant retail industry for coming up with publicity to lure more shoppers in the island.

“This year, our annual Guam Festival will start on November 20 to February 28 the following year. During the festival, people can find luxury items to everyday household items at very low, low cost,” said GVB director of global marketing Pilar Laguana.

According to Laguana, over 200 shopping vendors participate in the said festival.

“Shoppers can go anywhere in Guam and find these outlets like it’s a treasure hunt. But the wonderful thing is they can get all information via an app on your smartphones. Our vendors sensors at the entrance, and once visitors get in, a notification will pop up on their phones, offering them discount coupons,” she added.

During the said festival, luxury items can go up to 30-50% less, and buyers are guaranteed that they’re purchasing genuine products.

“We have laws that protect our consumers. Here in the US, we don’t allow counterfeit products,” she added.

While Guam is promoted to the Philippine market as a shopping destination, it advertises its other facets to the rest of its tourist market.

“Koreans prefer our adventure activities and beaches. The Chinese shuns away from the sun and they go more for dining, shopping and some other inland activities. Our North American market loves outdoor, adventure and scuba diving,” Carpio complemented.

The island has also become a popular wedding destination regardless of race and gender.

With all its charms, Guam has attracted 1.53 million visitors annually. Out of the 1.53 million tourists, more than 28,000 are Filipino travelers.

“We are glad that we have now three carriers plying the Manila-Guam route. With Cebu Pacific’s entry, we are confident that we will get more Filipino visitors especially with our affinity, in terms of history to the people of Guam,” quipped Carpio.

Cebu Pacific flies from Manila to Guam every Tuesday, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Posted in Lifestyle