Since 2004, G4S has played a pivotal role in securing almost every aspect of Guam’s biggest industry, tourism, protecting holidaymakers who visit Guam and ensuring they have the best possible experience.
G4S has also partnered with the Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) for more than seven years, providing safety and concierge services in Tumon, the heart of Guam’s tourism industry.
Guam is an unincorporated territory of the United States of America (USA) in the Micronesia sub-region of the western Pacific Ocean. It is an island, 32 miles-long and up to eight miles wide and tourism accounted for 35 – 40% of its annual Gross Domestic Product in 2020, with more than 21,000 people working in the tourism industry.
G4S provides specially trained Visitor Safety Officers (VSOs) and Beach Safety Officers (BSOs)- trained and certified lifeguards – who carry out a range of concierge and safety services for both residents and visitors in Tumon. This service is provided every day of the year since the conception of the VSO program in 2014.
“Today Visitor Safety Officers serve checkpoints, walk beaches and byways and cycle across Tumon. They take immediate corrective action when things go wrong, monitor suspicious activity and actively engage visitors, drivers, beachgoers, businesses and emergency responders as needed, whether threat levels are placid or blinking red alert. Even during the Pandemic, our VSO are making residents and increasing numbers of visitors feel safe again,” said Carl T.C. Gutierrez, GVB President and CEO.
Visitors from Japan, South Korea and USA
Guam is a popular destination with more than a million holidaymakers and military servicemen and women visiting annually, before the Covid-19 pandemic, with the majority travelling from Japan, South Korea and the USA. Tumon has around 20 large hotels, a duty-free shopping mall, a pleasure island district, an indoor aquarium and unspoiled pristine white sandy beaches.
“The thrust of our VSO program is centered on the safety and security of our tourists and local residents. But the issues and activities that they continue to address today have taken on new meaning in the midst of Covid-19,” said GVB Vice President, Dr. Gerry Perez. “VSOs regularly go above and beyond the call of duty and carry out their responsibilities in an exceptionally professional way. They support our mission in keeping Guam a safe and satisfying destination for our residents and visitors.”
VSOs provide a range of services including traffic management and road crossing assistance, they provide directions and help to recover lost property. They also respond to safety and security issues ranging from damaged public property, to loitering and public intoxication.
A crucial service on Guam which G4S delivers is lifeguarding and beach safety through its team of BSOs, at the popular Matapang Beach. On many occasions, BSOs have saved lives and helped swimmers in distress.
Challenges of Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a range of new challenges to Guam’s tourism industry, including the loss of visitors in 2020 and the safe and gradual return of tourists during 2021. The women and men of the VSO program adapted quickly to the changing needs of GVB to serve the community in protecting the parks and beaches of Tumon.
In 2020, VSOs responded to more than 12,000 requests for assistance from Guam residents giving advice related to Covid-19 on social distancing and how to safely use public parks and beaches.
“It is largely because of the professionalism of our team and the evidence of their many successes, that our program has been expanded over the years,” said Teresa Kasperbauer Sakazaki, General Manager for G4S in Guam & CNMI. “Our VSOs and BSOs have risen to the challenges that the pandemic has brought with such commitment to the safety of the people on Guam and they have adapted exceptionally well.”
On 3 December 2021, the GVB held its third annual awards ceremony to recognise the achievements of its VSOs.
“We are extremely thankful for the presence of the VSOs. They go above and beyond the call of duty to serve our community, especially during this pandemic. Through this program, we continue to focus on keeping our local residents and visitors safe and welcomed,” said Carl T.C. Gutierrez.
For more information, visit: www.g4s.com