China Airlines announced that it plans 6 flights to Palau this December after it canceled its November flights citing low tourists’ bookings.
The flight cancellations displeased President Surangel Whipps Jr. who considered the cancellations to be a poor decision on the part of China Airlines.
At a press conference earlier this month, President Whipps called out China Airlines, saying that the airline was not taking the Palau tourism market seriously. He added that the Taiwan government should consider allowing other airlines to service the Palau-Taiwan route.
China Airlines said that tourists’ bookings had dropped significantly leading the airline to cancel the flights. In August and September, the numbers went up due to vaccination offers but with vaccines becoming more available in Taiwan, the bookings to Palau dropped. The number of visitors for October dropped by half compared to September.
President Whipps’s comments were picked up by Taiwan Legislator Andy Chiu (Taiwan People’s Party) who expressed concern that the travel bubble burst might have an impact on Taiwan’s diplomatic ties with Palau during a public hearing with Taiwan’s Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-Tsai.
Mr. Wang pledged to meet with travel agencies to discuss better marketing of the Taiwan-Palau route.
Meanwhile, United Airlines will be increasing its flights to twice weekly starting December 16th from Guam to Palau.
Palau’s economic recovery from the impact of the pandemic hinges on the recovery of the tourism industry as projected in the Palau Economic Brief 2021 by USA Graduate School.