A view from the Japanese Lighthouse in Ngarchelong State that is being developed by the state government in partnership with the Palau Visitors Authority.

A proposed measure has been drafted to call for a legislation that seeks to exempt the Palau Visitors Authority (PVA) from all national and state taxes or fees when conducting tourism-related promotional activities.

A draft of the proposed bill that has yet to be introduced to the national congress pointed out that almost all state governments in Palau imposed bureaucratic requirements and fees amounting to as high as $15,000 just to conduct a photo shoot intended to promote the country as a destination. The draft lamented that paying these fees is draining its coffers, hence impeding its ability to effectively carry out its duty.

It stated that to conduct activities for promotions, the PVA is also being required to obtain “as many as 16 state licenses.” The draft also described the imposed fees as “arbitrary and exorbitantly high.”

“The activities of the PVA directly benefit the state governments of Palau by promoting the tourism that state governments depend upon generate business in their jurisdictions and additional revenues for their state treasuries,” it reads.

It calls for the amendment of Section 503 of Title 28 of the Palau National Code to include a provision that will exempt PVA from all national and state taxes and fees, adding that the imposition of these regulations is “contradictory and counter-productive.” (Rhealyn C. Pojas)