The tourism industry is bracing for more downturn in arrivals this March and more cancellations of travels to Palau amid impact of the coronavirus in Asia.

Jeff Barabe one of Belau Tourism Association’s (BTA)  officers and owner of Palau Central Hotel told members of the media during a budget reporting training workshop on Feb. 28 that businesses in the tourism industry “are seeing significant number of cancellations,” and are preparing for an emergency action plan to address further impact of the coronavirus.

Arrivals during February 1 to 24, according to the latest Palau Visitors Authority (PVA) statistics showed arrivals during February 1 to 24 of 4,795, almost 50 percent decrease compared to the same month last year.

It showed that arrivals during the period from China is zero due to the travel restrictions that suspend flights from People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Macau to Palau for the month of February until March 31.

The restrictions also restrict entry of foreign travelers originating from or transiting through mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau in the past 14 days into Palau.

PVA said while the February arrivals showed tourists coming from Japan and South Korea, March would have more drop in tourists.

South Korea announced 599 new cases, bringing its total to 4,335 with 22 deaths. In China, the number of new cases was 202, bringing its total to 80,026, including 2,912 deaths. (B.Carreon)