TAMUNING, Guam — After North Korea threatened to lob missiles toward Guam, the people of this American territory in the Western Pacific stayed calm. One thing that certainly helped the mood: Its tourists aren’t the kind to shy away.
Tourism is big business in Guam, an island of 162,000 residents that welcomed 1.5 million visitors last year. Japanese are the single biggest group, and South Koreans aren’t far behind — and to them, bluster from North Korea may seem like old news.
President Trump told Gov. Eddie Calvo of Guam that the threat had made the island “extremely famous all over the world” and that tourism was “going to go up, like, tenfold.” While there’s no evidence yet of any sort of ballistic missile boon, there’s no sign Kim Jong-un’s saber-rattling had any significant dampening effect on visits, either.
Flights to Guam from South Korea and Japan take about half the time it would take to get to Hawaii, another popular destination for tourists from East Asia.
Visitors have continued to pack the hotels, beaches and shopping malls of Guam in recent days, showing little concern about recent threats.