The Palau Visitors Authority (PVA) and Ngarchelong State Government had officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the development of Palau’s tourism sector through the One-Stop Shop project.

PVA Chairman of the Board Ngiraibelas Tmetuchl, PVA Managing Director Stephanie Nakamura, and Ngarchelong Governor Richard Ngiratrang had signed the MOU yesterday, November 8, at the Penthouse Hotel.

The One-Stop shop project was piloted by the PVA in Airai in its bid to diversify tourism activities in Palau other than diving and water activities in which Palau is known for. The program also aims to highlight Palau’s culture and traditions and to establish a single place where tourists can pay tour fees all at once for ease of process.

Under the One-Stop Shop, tourists can pay for the tour fee at the PVA’s office in exchange for a pass or permit that will allow them to do multiple activities and visit museums for 30 days.

PVA has already conducted site visits in Ngarchelong State and identified the Badrulchau and Todai or the Japanese Lighthouse as sites to be developed. Several recommendations were also communicated to the state government to help enhance the site according to minimum tourism standards.

“What we are trying to do here is develop partnership with everybody,” Tmetuchl said.

Tmetuchl said that the PVA has noticed that government agencies are each doing their own thing and that PVA is trying “get everybody on the same table” to ensure that all the available resources can be utilized in enhancing Palau’s tourism.

A big chunk of the project is also dedicated in training attendants who can also serve as tour guides who can explain valuable information about the site.

“We will develop a friendly atmosphere where people aren’t threatened but are welcome and the most important thing is we want to encourage them to take pictures, take as many selfies as you want and post it as many as you want and if that can be free of charge, even better,” Tmetuchl said.

The phase 1 of the project in Ngarchelong will start with the development of Todai.

Under the signed MOU, PVA and Ngarchelong had mutually agreed to collaborate in providing convenient service to tourists through the project and to co-manage historical sites in the state.

PVA, through the MOU, will be providing training and uniforms for the attendants and help in the solicitation of funding to upgrade the sites. Ngarchelong State, meanwhile, will provide for the salary of the employees who will work on the sites and pay for the necessary power and utilities.

The MOU also indicated that all revenue generated from the site will all belong to Ngarchelong, pending passage of state legislation for the One-Stop Shop. The signed MOU is effective for one year after its execution. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)