A Paradise Island for Visitors and Investors Alike

With a pristine nature, rich cultural influences from all over the world, and U.S. standards in business, Guam is not only revealing itself to the world as a paradise for visitors, but for investors as well

All islands in the Pacific are commonly described as unique, yet when it comes to Guam, the word acquires new meaning. The southernmost of the Mariana Islands, surrounded by the crystal clear waters of the Pacific Ocean and rimmed in seemingly untouched white sandy beaches, Guam is also a crossroads of history, home of ancient, 4000-year-old indigenous Chamorro and Carolinian cultures, a strategic military location during both World Wars, and to this day a key geopolitical player in the South Pacific as it houses U.S. Naval and Army bases on its soil.

These natural, cultural and historical peculiarities have made Guam a hotspot for global tourism, a sector that generates $1.4 billion annually, 60% of Guam’s annual business revenue, making it the island’s single largest industry. Attracted by its year round summer weather, out-of-this-world natural sites, unique historical locations, tax-free shopping and world-renowned local hospitality.

Every year thousands of visitors come to discover the island and stay at its first-class hotels, like the luxurious Dusit Thani Guam Resort, a five-star resort with spectacular ocean and mountain views in its elegant rooms, suites and villas, 15 exquisite restaurants, spas and renown Thai hospitality, or the Hilton Guam Resort and Spa, the island’s first pioneering luxury hotel, which continues to be a preferred destination for discerning travelers, merging cutting-edge technology with traditional hospitality in its 32-acre beachfront paradise located on the idyllic shores of Tumon Bay. With its recently renovated rooms and its comprehensive amenities such as a swimming pool, tennis court, wellness center, spa, and direct access to one of the most exquisite snorkeling experiences in Micronesia, the resort caters to a diverse clientele, including tourists, business travelers, and military personnel.

Guam’s visitors can further discover all the island has to offer exploring it by car, thanks to Taico, the island’s preferred, 24-hour rental car services, offering everything from compact sedans and convertibles to SUVs.

Furthermore, Guam is also a favorite among international investors, drawn by the bustling and ambitious business sector that has started putting it in the world map, and the solid upwards trajectory its economy has experienced in the last years. Indeed, despite recent challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, a battle with inflation, and its first major typhoon in 20 years, Guam’s economy is growing stronger, evidenced by the 2,000 private sector jobs that were created last year, as well as the fact that wages were up by 11% and unemployment down by 4.1%, marking was has being considered a true economic revival.

Part of Guam’s success is explained by the government’s efforts to stabilize its finances, with Governor Lourdes Leon Guerrero retiring an $83 million General Fund deficit within two and a half years of taking office. Another reason why Guam could successfully navigate through this turbulent landscape was the support received by insurance companies such as Transpacific Insurance Brokers, whose expertise in providing local brokerage with a global reach has accompanied U.S.-based contractors in Guam, as well as multinationals embarking on large scale projects in Micronesia and Palau, allowing them to access a kind of coverage that is not always locally available.

On the other hand, Guam’s government emphasis on economic diversification has also been crucial in this process, by encouraging investments in technology, data, aquaculture, and pharmaceutical additive manufacturing. For instance, Guam has signed key agreements with the U.S. Department of Defense for a multi-million-dollar partnership focused on additive manufacturing for ship and submarine parts, and has recently partnered with Google to lay undersea cables which will strengthen the island’s Internet connection and make it a vital data node in the region. This will help it connect the northern and central Pacific to Asia and to the U.S. mainland, and thus positioning Guam as the perfect hub for data warehousing. “This innovative technology will open up partnership opportunities for our local businesses, and it will certainly change the pace and dimension of foreign investment in the island,” said Governor Leon Guerrero.

One of the main forces behind this push is GEDA, Guam Economic Development Authority, whose mission is to oversee all government public finance projects, manage a portfolio of government-owned properties and prioritize business development, including attracting external investors and supporting local small businesses, with a specific emphasis on diversifying Guam’s economy away from its heavy reliance on federal government activities and tourism. To achieve this, GEDA manages tax incentives, facilitates permits, and coordinates with educational institutions to ensure a supportive ecosystem for businesses. They also promote trade missions both internationally and locally to showcase Guam’s potential to investors. Furthermore, given Guam’s aim to position itself as a leader in sustainability, GEDA plays a pivotal role in supporting circular businesses that reduce dependency on imports. Therefore, they have placed a special focus on agriculture and aquaculture, where Guam hosts considerable advantages given its pathogen-free waters and proximity to key Asian markets, such as Japan, Korea and Taiwan, all of which makes it an ideal hub for unique seafood products.

All in all, an island in the heart of Micronesia yet connected to the modern world, a blend of modern and ancient Asian cultures but ruled by U.S. laws on U.S. soil, a natural paradise in which to lose yourself, and a vibrant economy connected to the world through underwater data cables, global trade relations, geopolitics, and international investment. How about that for unique? You can find the world in Guam, but you cannot find Guam anywhere else in the world.