Palau Visitors Authority (PVA) Chairman Ngiraibelas Tmetuchl said that Palau’s crackdown on criminals helps build Palau’s reputation as a safe haven for both tourists and investors.

In an interview, Tmetuchl said that PVA welcomes the implementation of the Executive Order to ban foreign nationals with felony records from entering and doing business in the country as this will encourage legitimate businesses and tourists to invest and explore the country, respectively.

“If legitimate businesses hear that we are cracking down on criminals, they would feel that [Palau] is but a safe place to dump their money,” Tmetuchl said.

Tmetuchl also added that Palau’s tourism slogan, “Pristine Paradise,” connotes “hospitality, warmth, comfort, and bliss” and that it is imperative that it maintains the reputation of being among the safest destinations in the region.

The chairman said that although criminality is just one of the conditions affecting tourism, he said that it is also a big factor.

Palau recently denied the entry of Chinese national Xiaoxue Xu, who is said to be the wife of former Macau gambling triad leader Wan Kuok-koi also known as Broken Tooth Koi, for alleged falsification of identity.

Xu, along with Broken Tooth Koi, has been declared by Palau as an undesirable alien.

Xu was found by operatives using three different passports bearing different birth dates and using a different name.

President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. previously signed an Executive Order on April 30, 2019 to prevent individuals with felony records from entering Palau.

Meanwhile, Vice President Raynold Oilouch also told the Times that Palau welcomes all tourists from the world except those who have felony records.

The Bureau of Public Safety (BPS) had also reported that crime rate in Palau dropped to 14% from January to June this year. (By Rhealyn C. Pojas)