Japanese tourists on board the T’way carrier arrived at the Palau International Airport on August 10, Saturday.

Japanese global trading firm Sojitz Corporation and the Palau Visitors Authority (PVA) had signed an agreement in July to work together in getting airplane companies to open more flights to Palau and also to promote the country as a destination.

Ayako Mochizuki of Sojitz’s Aerospace and Transportation Project Division told the Times in an interview that they are currently inviting airlines to operate flights to Palau and at the same time support the PVA during travel shows in Korea.

The Sojitz office in Seoul, Korea, according to Mochizuki, had agreed to represent the PVA.

“[PVA does] not have [representatives] to promote Palau in Korea and since Sojitz has a branch in Seoul, our office has been granted the opportunity to become the representative of PVA in Korea,” Mochizuki said, adding that they will be promoting Palau’s tourism and will help bring in airlines and travel agencies to open their services here.

Mochizuki said that promoting Palau in the Korean and Japanese markets has been a challenge for PVA since their representatives do not speak the local language, hence partnering with them is an advantage because their staff based respectively in their Japan and Korea offices could speak the local tongue.

Sojitz and PVA had agreed to work for the project under a one-year contract.

Meanwhile, Kohei Nomura of the Palau International Airport Corporate Management Department said in the same interview that although Sojitz is a general trading company, it also has capacity in aerospace department since they also operate several airports in Japan and also engage in selling and dealership of airplanes.

“We have a lot of good connections with the airlines. That is what we are trying to strengthen,” Nomura said.

Just recently, Sojitz had helped brought charter flights to Palau through the South Korean low-cost carrier T’way Air which offers flights from Japan and Korea.

Sojitz is also working with the Palau government in the expansion and renovation of the Palau International Airport and will manage it for 20 years under the concession agreement signed in 2017. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)