AUDIT: GVB increased net income by $2MWritten by Donna De Jesus
Guam - A recent audit released by the Office of Public Accountability revealed that the Guam Visitors Bureau closed Fiscal Year 2016 with a $2 million increase in net income — half a million less than the prior year’s reported increase.
According to the Office of Public Accountability, Deloitte & Touche rendered a clean opinion on the Guam Visitors Bureau’s financial audit, and GVB’s new Vice President, Tony Muña Jr., spoke about another record year that auditors have not identified material weaknesses or significant deficiencies. "GVB’s really happy that we got our seventh consecutive clean audit. It speaks volumes about the management and staff following procedures and rules. Here at GVB, we make an effort to ensure that all of the policies and procedures that come from law or from our Board are followed and adhered to," Muña said.
Aside from the $2 million net income increase from 2016 compared to the $2.5 million increase from 2015, the audit reported a 10.1-percent increase in tourist arrivals last year, thanks to the collaboration between GVB and the Guam International Airport to attract new airlines from Korea. While the weaker Japanese Yen and the Japanese Government’s focus on domestic travel showed a decline in Japan arrivals, Japan is still the island’s largest visitor market.
GVB’s reported outlook for 2017 forecasts a 4-percent increase in visitor arrivals, translating to about 60,000 additional visitors, with a decline in the Japan market that is expected to be offset by the growth in the Korean, Philippine, and Hong Kong markets.
In terms of local efforts, GVB’s Håfa Adai Pledge program is steadily growing, with the now over 700 organizations having joined the pledge since 2009. Today, the Guam Legislature took the pledge, in addition to American President Lines, and their 700th member, Åmot Farm. Muña says, "It’s run by a suruhana, and it’s a native medicinal farm. They took the pledge, but she lives the Håfa Adai Pledge — the Chamorro culture — every single day."
As far as plans go for the new Vice President, Muña says the GVB Board is following through with its Tumon Bay Improvement Plan, the completion of the project to repair streetlights, and the installation of new bus shelters. He adds, "We promote Guam as a safe and satisfying destination for our visitors. But if we don’t have working streetlights or safe sidewalks, we’re not really living up to what we’re promoting."