Palau Visitors Authority (PVA) Chairman of the Board Ngiraibelas Tmetuchl had named several challenges in the promotion of Palau’s tourism and one of these is the need to eliminate the “nickel-and-diming reputation.”

Speaking before the senate as a guest during the first session of the year, Tmetuchl said that the PVA is faced with a challenge of negotiating with the 17 governments.

“We have 16 states with different laws governing tourist activities. We need to work to have a centralized mechanism that regulates all tourist activities and fee collection. This will eliminate a ‘nickel-and-diming’ reputation,” Tmetuchl said during the senate session on January 8 at the Senate Chamber of the National Capitol.

Tmetuchl also pinpointed several other challenges such as the cost of Palau as a destination compared to others. He said that because of Palau’s cost, there is a need to put more financial resources to reach the target market.

PVA’s annual budget of $1.4-Million pales in comparison to Guam Visitors Bureau’s (GVB) $3-Million investment in the Japan market alone, Tmetuchl revealed.

He also emphasized the need to fund permanent day and night market space to give tourists things to spend money on.

Among the other recommendations he presented are investing in “Complete Streets” project to provide everyone, be it locals or visitors, shaded and safe sidewalks, subsidizing public land and water transportation to and from Babeldaob sites, Peleliu, Angaur, Kayangel, and the Southwest Islands, legislating a national tour guide certification program, legislating culinary arts scholarship to promote local flavors, and investing in digital platforms to promote tourism. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)