Concerned over Guam's image, GVB urges: Postpone tournament

PRECAUTION: Airline crew and passengers departing Guam wear face masks recently at the A.B. Won Pat International Airport in Tiyan. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

The Guam Visitors Bureau is urging the postponement of a basketball tournament on the island that will include the Hong Kong national basketball team. GVB made the recommendation because of concerns over the new coronavirus and Guam's image as a visitor destination.

Guam has denied the entry of the cruise ship MS Westerdam after it boarded passengers from Hong Kong but more recently some officials in the basketball community decided to host a tournament involving the Hong Kong national basketball team which is expected to arrive with media representatives and supporters on Feb. 20.

The GVB board of directors Saturday recommended the postponement or cancellation of the Guam Basketball Confederation's FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifier. 

"While we are supportive of the event as a sponsor, we are very concerned about the event’s timing as the world deals with the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus and the long-term effect this will have on our source markets," GVB stated. "We are looking out for the best interests of our people and feel that if this qualifier were to continue, it may damage Guam’s brand. Our decision comes out of strong concerns as cancellations to Guam continue from our visitor markets due to this worldwide health issue. We must work to ensure our visitor arrivals do not take a major hit going forward.”

More than 14,000 tourists have canceled their Guam trips as of Friday.

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