Palau removed the Day 4 COVID-19 testing requirement for incoming travelers in the latest directive issued by the Ministry of Health & Human Services.

The easing of the COVID restrictions is expected to help in the efforts to revive tourism.  Minister Ngirai Tmetuchl of HRCTD said that the easing of the 4-day testing will help Korea to re-establish flights.

“Eventual removal of testing requirements will help as well.  We are working with MHHS to provide a future plan for the eventual removal of all restrictions,” Minister Tmetuchl said on the tourism recovery efforts.

Tourism recovery is slower than anticipated.  “Tourism has not rebounded as much as we have hoped,” President Whipps said.  The large number of military personnel expected in the next two months will help but still “lagging” added Whipps.

Tourism arrivals in the 1st Quarter of 2022 reached 1,536, a vast difference from 41,000 in the 1st Quarter of 2020.   

Despite the gap, the tourism outlook for the end of the year and into 2023 looks more positive to Tmetuchl. Travelers from the US are expected to visit from late November to early January.

Palau’s key markets, Japan and Korea are expected to ease up their COVID requirements as they come out of the second and third COVID surges.

Work between Palau and its partner PIAC (Palau International Airport Corporation) is underway to promote Korea and Japan markets, said Minister Tmetuchl, Chairman of Palau Visitors Authority.

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