Monday, 08 May 2017

Guam's tourism pioneer passes away

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Tributes pouring out for the late Bert Unpingco, fondly called Mr. Tourism, whose death has been confirmed by family members.

Guam - Norbert "Bert" Unpingco was a pioneer of Guam’s largest industry when it was first taking off in the 1970s, serving in the Guam Visitors Bureau in a number of capacities, and helping to start an initiative called “Welcome All Visitors Enthusiastically,” or WAVE.

According to Portrait of Guam U.S.A. Volume II, Unpingco was officially recognized in 2008 by GVB, GEDA, and the Guam Legislature for Lifetime Excellence in Tourism, and was given the fitting moniker, "Mr. Tourism."

A statement from Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo says, “He wanted everyone on Guam, not just tourists, to learn about our island and culture to be able to promote it and share it with others.”

GVB’s Nate Denight expressed his condolences and shared his memories of Unpingco: "He was the first GVB general manager, and he really did so much to promote and advocate for tourism. He started the WAVE Program. We wouldn’t be here today without all his hard work and efforts. On a personal note, when I started here at GVB in 2011, he would come by a couple of times a month, and he would tell me about the history of tourism and share all these innovative ideas. He had a passion for tourism. I’m really sad to see him go. My condolences to his family and friends."

According to family members, rosaries begin tonight at 7 p.m. at St. Jude Church in Sinajana, and will continue nightly until May 18.

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