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Meet Mary Rhodes, the new Tourism Hero from Guam, USA


The Hall of International Tourism Heroes is open by nomination only to recognize those that have shown extraordinary leadership, innovation, and actions. Tourism Heroes go the extra step.
Today the first tourism hero from Guam is officially introduced. Listen to the discussion between Hero Mary Rhodes, and WTN Chairman Juergen Steinmetz.

Mary Rhodes is from Guam, a US Territory 7 hours flight from Hawaii, or 90 minutes from Manila. Guam is where America begins its day.

Mary Rhodes said:
“Globally, the tourism markets have been universally impacted with the effects of the pandemic.  As leaders in the industry, we need to balance the safety and health of the community and economy while fostering initiatives that are sustainable, resilient and competitive within our region.”

“Leading tourism initiatives with strength and agility are essential characteristics in managing issues, challenges and opportunities that have direct and indirect impacts on our destination, key source markets and industry.”

Juergen Steinmetz, chairman of the World Tourism Network says:
“I am so pleased to see Mary join our hall of tourism heroes. A true leader, who helped tremendously in keeping our neighbor in the Pacific safe. At the same time she was able to keep Guam relevant as a travel and tourism destination. Well deserved!”

During 2020 and 2021, Mrs. Rhodes has led several initiatives during the pandemic to ensure the health and safety of industry employees, residents of the community, and military personnel on Guam while serving as a liaison for the tourism industry with both the local and federal governments overseeing, coordinating and leading the following programs and activities:

She organized a pandemic workshop in January 2020 for the tourism industry with local and federal government partners on emergency planning, health and safety protocols, tabletops exercises, and pandemic training.

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Mrs. Rhodes also worked closely with the Department of Public Health and Social Services in writing the public health guidelines for the Covid-19 health and safety protocols for the tourism industry;

She served in the emergency operations center with the Guam Homeland Security and Deparment of Public Health and Social Services for the last 15 years (more notably during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021) to represent the private sector and serve as a RAC member and lead two ESF groups for mass care and shelter and place.

Mrs. Rhodes provided assistance during the pandemic for incoming passengers for lodging and transportation;

She served as the prime vendor contract for the quarantine, lodging, and services for the USS Roosevelt from March through July 2020, which required management of services with 12 member hotels within GHRA to care for and protect more than 5,000 servicemen and women together with the federal government and military.

Mrs. Rhodes was the administrator of the prime vendor contract with the Department of Defense;

She led several vaccination clinics and testing sites at the work site for private-sector employees to ensure Guam’s vaccination reaches herd immunity of 80 percent or greater. As President of GHRA, Mrs. Rhodes worked closely with the Department of Public Health & Social Services to secure the vaccines and tests for the employees of the tourism industry.

Mrs. Rhodes was also the lead in coordinating services with the clinic and hospital to administer the programs at the employer sites;

Mrs. Rhodes assisted with the reopening of the tourism industry with the Guam Visitors Bureau on three key projects:

(1) vaccinating industry employees to ensure businesses have a high vaccination rate,

(2) promote the WTTC Safe Travels program and encourage businesses to apply for the credentials to promote Guam as a safe destination, and

(3) promote and develop a vaccine and vacation program for American ex-pats and individuals from key source markets who do not have access to a Covid-19 vaccine and would travel to Guam to get vaccinated.

This would require a short or long-term stay depending on which of the three vaccines they opt for is administered: Jansen & Johnson, Moderna, or Pfizer. All of them have strict protocols as part of the program;

Mrs. Rhodes and GHRA led several pieces of training and workshops with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Small Business Development Center to educate the private sector on the different federal programs that benefit businesses during the pandemic.

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For example, PPP, EIDL, and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund which garnered millions of dollars in federal aid through grants and loans.

She developed a number of training and community outreach opportunities including an Economic Forum, seminars, and workshops to engage employers on various Covid-19 related issues including pandemic unemployment assistance, federal funding, vaccines at the workplace, proof of vaccinations, health and safety protocols, etc.

Mrs. Rhodes’ efforts with GHRA were made in collaboration with the Society for Human Resource Management and several NGOs . It includes the different chambers of commerce on Guam.

Mrs. Rhodes served on a couple of working groups and advisory committees under the Governor of Guam, Guam Economic Development Authority, Guam Visitors Bureau, and Guam Department of Labor representing one of several organizations for economic recovery, public unemployment assistance, grants for small businesses, training, and workshops

[email protected]

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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Mr. Daniel Pimental

The pandemic to ensure the health and safety of industry employees, residents of the community, and military personnel on Guam while serving as a liaison for the tourism industry with both the local and federal governments overseeing, coordinating and leading the following programs and activities. I really like this post. It is very informative article. Thanks for this.

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