Thursday, August 23, 2007

Camacho at Guam Industry Forum

Camacho addresses industry forum
By Gerardo R. Partido
Variety News Staff
August 24, 2007

GOVERNOR Felix P. Camacho yesterday addressed the opening of the Guam Industry Forum, stressing that Guam is set to become a major player in the region as the military buildup enhances the quality of life for everyone.

“Like in any business, we must stay focused on our ultimate goals and keep our confidence and optimism. As Guam’s CEO, my ultimate goal and bottom line is the completion of the military expansion and that the outcomes achieved are sustainable, both physically and socially, for the foreseeable future,” the governor said in his keynote speech.

He said the challenge for the government now is to build a foundation for the future and transform an emerging community ready to accept the change that will be brought on by the buildup.

“We are taking the challenge and we want you to be our partners,” the governor told the assembled executives attending the forum.

Camacho said he has already asked the island’s economic, business and government stakeholders to collaborate and create an efficient system that will assure local and off-island partners a professional and friendly business climate.

The Civilian Military Task Force, composed of private sector and government agencies, will ensure the diversity of opinions are heard and solutions offered are acceptable to the people of Guam, the governor said.

He added that Guam’s strategic location is transforming the island into the Asia-Pacific Rim’s center for Asian-American trade.

“Guam’s strategic location is good for your business. We are where America’s day begins, and Asia’s closest U.S. connection. Since the days of the galleon trade, Guam has always been recognized for its strategic value because of its location,” the governor said.

He cited statistics which showed that real estate had an unprecedented increase of 300 percent from 2005 to 2006 alone and that Guam now ranks 8th among 36 insular economies on a Tourism Penetration Index.

“We are projecting 1.5 million arrivals in the next five years. We are confident that we can achieve this goal. Just as of June 2007, we reached nearly 1.4 million visitors,” the governor said.

Investment confidence is also high, Camacho added, pointing out that from 2006 to the second quarter of 2007, almost $413 million from the private sector and almost $211 million from the public sector was infused into the economy.

“I have said it in so many ways and in different words, in many functions and events, the military expansion for Guam spells progress. Military expansion means a strong economy that would support our core industries and infrastructure. But, more importantly, this would ensure that future generations who call Guam home would have opportunities to accomplish their dreams,” he concluded.

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