Image source: PVA

Palau Visitors Authority (PVA) recommended a proposed measure that will provide a tax break for hotels and businesses amid the ongoing global COVID-19 crisis.

In a letter to Finance Minister Elbuchel Sadang on March 26, PVA Managing Director Stephanie Nakamura said the agency is recommending several measures to enable the tourism industry- hurting from the pandemic, stay afloat in the time of coronavirus.

The proposed measure recommends a tax holiday for the quarters ending March 31, 2020, and June 30, 2020.

“Tourism is the sole remaining private source of foreign revenue underpinning Palau’s economy.  The precipitous decline in tourist arrivals due to the Covid-19 virus has created a crisis for Palau’s economy that will continue for several months, if not longer,” it said.

It added that the “entire Palau tourism industry—from the airlines servicing Palau, hotels, restaurants, boat and tour operators alike—and all other businesses in Palau that indirectly benefit from the revenue brought in by tourists are already greatly suffering financially from this crisis.”

The PVA also recommended a tax break on  hotel room and  vessel cabin occupancy until  June 30, 2020,.

On March 20, President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. established a Joint Leadership Working Group to develop and recommend measures to mitigate the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Working Group shall be responsible to look beyond emergency response measures and focus on long-term concerns by assessing the health, safety, social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the people of the Republic; developing recommendations to ensure the availability of government services; developing recommendations to support Palau’s most vulnerable citizens and residents; developing recommendations to relieve and support the private sector; and developing recommendations to ensure the swift recovery of Palau’s visitor industry.”

Ms. Nakamura said the impact in tourism of the pandemic, “represents a loss of million dollars to Palau’s economy. (B. Carreon)