Papago Hotel at Airai State is to undergo complete transformation this year according to the owner Mr. James Cheng of the Republic of China – Taiwan.  Starting this April, the hotel under new management will undergo a complete overhaul to become a new iconic hotel in Palau.

Mr. Cheng who owns a hotel chain of Papago Hotels and Resorts in Taiwan has been doing business in Palau for over 20 years.  His hotel in Palau, Papago Hotel opened its doors in 2002.

Joining Mr. Cheng on this visit is a group of investors from Taiwan, Singapore, and China who are involved in a number of different businesses worldwide but are interested in the tourism industry in Palau.

Asked why they chose to look at Palau, Mr. Jackson Neo, CEO CDEX SST, one of the investors said Palau is a hidden gem that is becoming very rare to find.  He said tourism in Palau is an emerging market and he can see growth in the coming years.

“People now travel for fun and relaxation which used to be just for the rich.  Now average people can afford to travel for fun and relaxation and there is growth here,” stated Mr. Neo.

“We are interested in major hotel investments.  These investments also bring a lot of opportunities for SMEs (Small and medium enterprises) to start.  Opportunities in transport businesses, pleasure activities that can be filled by local businesses to supplement hotel business.  Major hotel businesses will not go into such small enterprises because they have smaller returns,” added Neo.   “It’s better for small businesses because they have more creative ideas.”

Asked what he felt needed to be improved in order to bring in more investors, Mr. Neo said that better internet services such as G5 services and more marketing of Palau.

When asked how the ongoing corona virus outbreak is going to impact investments, Mr. Neo expressed confidence that virus will be under control soon.  “As with SARS and other such virus outbreak, usually by summer, the virus would be gone.  Many countries are working quickly to find the cure and soon business will be back to normal,” assured Neo.

The investors were also in Palau to attend an international business conference hosted Sprinkle Success Ltd.  Mr. Neo said they were expecting 100 participants but due to flight disruptions, only half of the participants were able to attend.  The conference was held at the Paradise Hotel Resort. Conference attendees were welcomed to Palau by Vice President Raynold Oilouch who said Palau welcomes quality investments and wished Mr. Cheng and the participants a successful conference. (L.N. Reklai)