PLAIN ENGLISH

Maureen N. Maratita

North Korea continues to fire missiles into the sea – including on my birthday last month, when I was selfishly and happily distracted – rather than focusing on important geopolitical issues.

Depending on where you are reading the Journal, how much warning would you have if a missile headed your way? Expert estimates range from seven to 14 minutes in Guam, to 20 minutes in Hawaii, depending on the type of missile.

Of course, it’s an interesting question as to what you would do with those minutes? Call a loved one? Crack open that bottle you’ve been saving for a special occasion?

The better question is what stands between you and those missiles.

Fortunately — and it would seem deliberately — the U.S. military has been open about its defense of the islands. …

 

 Those geopolitical issues aside, to-day business issues are ever present in our lives. At my business, we are busy but short staffed, and that’s a scenario that many of us are experiencing in the islands, and further afield. 

The rising cost of staff and the rising cost of goods and services — particularly power — are what preoccupies us.

And then there is the slow return of our tourism markets, affected by issues also outside of our control — such as the attraction of other markets and the rates of exchange. …

 

The message at the Guam tourism forum on Oct. 18 at the RHIGA Royal was that Guam needs to step up its game. Of course, it’s easy for our source markets to say that we need more tourist attractions while our industry grapples with slow numbers and we are compared to bigger and more solid markets.

Maybe there’s a government subsidy or a qualifying certificate brewing out there that would help? The time is definitely now. …

 

Guam’s airport also came under fire for that perennial problem, the length of time it takes to clear customs and immigration.

If you have been traveling, you will likely know that in the U.S. mainland and Europe standing in arrival lines is part of the privilege of travel.

You may also know that some Asian destinations (which I frequently have visited and continue to transit) are typically the gold standard of efficiency when it comes to moving passengers, as well as their checked baggage and hand luggage.

If you would like to see what our source market airlines shared with about 80-some executives at the tourism forum, you can find the presentations on www.ghra.org in the Presentations dropdown under Industry News. Some of the comments are relevant to all our island destinations. …

 

At the tourism forum, the group I joined outside during the break was already deep into a discussion about overheads — primarily the cost of power at businesses, but also at their homes.

And then the talk turned to how low and at what temperature we like to live with in our air-conditioned residences.

It varies from the low 60s (Fahrenheit) to the high 70s, so 62 Fahrenheit equals 16.6 degrees Celsius.

The Maratitas are now mindful of leaving lights on in empty rooms.

I feel like I am turning into my father, who would walk round the house turning lights and lamps off, when I lived with my parents as an (inconsiderate) teenager. …

 

Overheard at the packed Bank of Hawaii client appreciation party on Oct. 26 (See “Focus” on Page 26).

 

A warning on prior proper planning:

“I can’t believe I flew all the way from Hawaii for a networking party and didn’t bring any business cards.”

 

Joy to non-profit event organizing committee ears:

“Will you let me know when there’s a gala?” …

 

— Maureen N. Maratita is the publisher at Glimpses Media. Publications at Glimpses Media include the Marianas Business Journal, MBJ Life, The Real Estate Journal, Guam Business Magazine, Beach Road Magazine, Buenas and Drive Guam.