In January of 2017, the Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) contracted Market Research & Development, Inc. (MR&D) to conduct three Survey of Tourism Attitudes among Residents (STAR)surveys. The first was conducted in 2017, while the second was conducted in late 2019. The Survey of Tourism Attitudes of Residents, or STAR survey, is designed to ascertain how the people of Guam feel about the tourism industry and the GVB. The survey is used to gain valuable insight regarding how residents feel towards the tourism industry, and its overall impact on Guam’s economy and the community, overall. In conducting the 2019 survey, GVB was interested in tracking changes in attitudes recorded in prior surveys and investigating current issues, concerns, and development within the tourism industry as well as the public’s opinion on the military realignment and legalization of recreational use of marijuana.
The MR&D Approach
A total of 602 randomly selected residents over the age of 18 completed the telephone survey. The survey instrument contained questions from the 2017 survey while also integrating the results of the qualitative focus groups. Residents were asked to provide their thoughts on the impact the tourism industry on local economy and individual families, important factors GVB should be responsible for, employment opportunities and worker welfare in the tourism industry, visitors and residents’ awareness, interest, and participation in GVB’s promotions and activities, and the impact of improving public transportation, the legalization of recreational marijuana, and the military realignment “Build-up”.
The second STAR survey was implemented to achieve nine specific information objectives that measured the attitude toward the impact of tourism on the local community, awareness of Guam Visitors Bureau programs and initiatives, and progress toward meeting goals of the Tourism 2020 plan. The project identified changes in public opinion over time and provided a factor analysis of issues driving public opinion and identified how well those factors explained how residents, particularly Chamorro residents, viewed the Guam Visitors Bureau and the hospitality industry. At every stage during the project cycle, from mobilization to close-out, MR&D maintained a regular rapport with GVB team to ensure that information objectives were accurately represented in the research design and achieved during the implementation of the study. MR&D has established a solid reputation of fair dealing and transparency with the GVB.