By: Bernadette Carreon

Despite the declining tourism numbers for 2017, the Palau government said that revenues indicate that tourists visiting Palau are spending more.


Minister of Finance Elbudechel Sadang Palau financial standing of Palau for 2017  is in a good place with  the government bullish to meet target revenue collections.

“Our GRT is more than we have projected, it’s less (tourism numbers) but they are spending more,” Sadang told reporters on Wednesday.

For the 4th quarter revenue report, Palau collected over $3,000, 000 more than its projected revenues

President Tommy Remengesau Jr. said although the tourism numbers might be on a downtrend, the revenues reflect a better standing of what tourism brought in Palau.

“We are very happy that while the  numbers might be down on tourists coming in, we are on track to meet our projections of anticipated revenues coming in , the only way that this can happen is people paying their taxes, people spend more, so you can tax their spending, businesses can pay those taxes to the government and that seems to be the case,” Remengesau said.

“There is more value in quality than value in quantity,” Remengesau which he said is in line with its tourism policy aim of attracting high-value tourism.

He said that Palau has been attracting more tourists that are coming from destinations that does not target package tours.

Instead more free independent travelers are choosing Palau., he said and those are people that are spending more in the country.

In the latest financial report, the government projected $4, 861,000 from hotel occupancy tax but has collected $4,979,174.

Earlier the November tourist arrivals registered a very slight drop compared to the same month of 2016, according to the latest Palau Visitors Authority (PVA) visitors’ arrival statistics report.

The report said that there were 9, 378 arrivals in November compared to the 9,384 arrivals in November of 2016.

The new statistic however does not paint a good picture of the overall tourist arrivals for 2017.

From January to November 2017 there were 112, 821 arrivals in Palau , compared to the same period of last year with  128,558. [/restrict]