The Belau Tourism Association (BTA) is urging Congress to consider several factors before passage of the proposed legislation to promote high-end accommodations.
In a letter to Senate President Hokkons Baules dated February 10, BTA stated that although BTA supports the goal of the measure introduced by President Remengesau, the organization is “concerned about the bill’s proposed means to achieve these ends.”
Points raised by BTA on the bill that high- end luxury investment could divert from the high-value or diverse niche markets.
It also cautioned Congress that any high-end accommodations measure should consider the conservation, reduces impact to the environment and will be beneficial to the local communities.
BTA said that a hotel star rating system is also a complicated process and that and if Palau follows a certain international system it might not fit the country’s needs or current infrastructure.
BTA also urged Congress to endorse the pending Responsible Tourism Policy Framework which promotes high value, low volume tourism strategy in Palau.
The association also urged lawmakers to support the creation of National Tourism Coordination Board (NTCB), which will include representation from key government ministries, states, private sector organizations, and NGOs.
The NCTB’s role will be to provide leadership and policy guidance to steer implementation of the framework.
The framework recommends that tourism policy revolves around a “high value, low volume tourism and defined it as a “strategy that is characterized by smaller- and medium-scale operations emphasizing local and authentic experiences. High-value tourism has a higher per-visitor expenditure yet its market volatility and environmental/cultural impacts are lower.
Chair of the Senate Committee on Tourism, Sen. Phillip Reklai said that the proposed measure would be up for second reading in today’s regular session.
Reklai said BTA’s recommendation on the star rating system would be considered in the deliberation of the bill. [/restrict]