Palau reached 30,091 tourists in nine (9) months, from January to September 2023, higher than what the government predicted of around 20,000 visitors.
The arrival numbers exceeded last year by nearly 150% but still represent about 30% of FY 2019 (pre-COVID) numbers. With three more months to go in the year, the number may reach 40,000 at the end of the year based on the arrival trend of the last three months.
Minister Ngirai Tmetuchl of Human Resource, Culture, Tourism and Development (HRCTD) is optimistic about the growth, citing interest in new airlines to fly and a planned increase in the number of flights for some of the existing airlines.
At the October 18th press conference, it was reported that Nauru Airlines is planning to fly in December, connecting Nauru to Palau and the Philippines. China Airlines is said to have expressed plans to increase flights in April next year. In addition, another airline from Taiwan is looking to fly to Palau in March of 2024.
Currently, United Airlines arrives seven times a week, with five flights from Guam and two from the Philippines. China Airlines flies twice a week, and Air Niugini flies once weekly, connecting Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Palau. Three charter flights, Lanmei Airlines, Cambodia Airlines, and Sky Angkor Airlines, arrive weekly from Macau, China, and Jeju Airline arrives weekly from South Korea.