April arrivals plummeted to an unprecedented zero this year compared with the same month in 2019 due to COVID-19 according to the latest Palau Visitor’s Authority (PVA) arrival statistics.

In April 2019, the tourism-reliant nation received 8,439 tourists, and usually this time of the year Palau is bustling with tourists and divers from different parts of the world.

Instead, hotels are empty, with tourism-related businesses taking the hardest hit as a result of the pandemic, resulting in a huge number of job losses.

“With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions of inbound flights, arrivals for the month of April 2020 represent a 100% decrease in arrivals compared to the same month last year, “ the PVA statistics said.

The 100 percent drop was due to border closure and all scheduled and charter flights to and from Palau have ceased operations for the month of April.

“Countries and regions have imposed quarantines, entry bans, or other restrictions for citizens of or recent travelers to most affected areas. Other countries and regions have imposed global restrictions that apply to all foreign countries and territories, or prevent their own citizens from traveling overseas,” the statistics report added.

In March this year, Palau received 2,746 tourists and half of the arrivals were due to a charter flight from Japan.

One of the few nations in the world that is virus-free, there has been no immediate indication of reopening to tourism.

The proposal of a travel bubble with Taiwan is being considered given its success in containing the coronavirus.

“I am open to the idea of operating in bubbles. With Taiwan having the best COVID containment strategy that is being proven to work, a bubble economy with Taiwan is quite possible. Palau will certainly look into all of the factors that will enable ‘bubble’ operations,” the president said earlier told local reporters.