By: L.N. Reklai

September 14, 2017 (Koror, Palau) A Presidential Directive No. 17-26 organizes a Joint Law Enforcement Special Operation called Operation Clean –Business, Sound-Tourism, to start “cracking down on illegal business practices and activities related to tourism”.

The operation is said to enforce compliance of laws and regulations governing the tourism industry in Palau.

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According to the Directive, previous inspections showed several business operations operating secretively or illegally and without proper permits, licenses or certificates.

Such activities are “damaging to the stability and sustainability of the tourism industry as well as the overall economic development of the country”, it states.

The Directive further states that OEK had recognized these issues such as “increasing number of undesireable tourism related business schemes such as front businesses, operating apartments as hotels, and false marketing schemes” and had directed the President of the Republic through a resolution to investigate and address these issues.

The Joint Law Enforcement Special Operation consist of Chief of Staff of the President, Director of Bureau of Tourism, Attorney General, Director of Foreign Investment Board, Director of Palau Visitors Authority, Director of Immigration and Labor, Director of Public Health, Director of Maritime Enforcement and Fish & Wildlife, Director of Bureau of Public Safety, Director of Commercial and Development, Director of Customs and Border Control, Director of Revenue and Taxation and Director of Bureau of Aviation.

The task of this Special Operation is to “conduct random monitoring, inspections, investigations, and assessment of certain tourism-related business establishments, operations,activities, and practices to ensure that they are in compliance with laws and regulations governing the tourism industry; to fine, penalize, investigate and prosecute violators.”

The Directive states that encouraging new standards and promoting high quality business practices is in line with government’s policy and desire to target high-value and low impact sustainable tourism.

The Operation commenced upon signing of the Presidential Directive on September 12, 2017. [/restrict]