PVA Chairman Ngiraibelas Tmetuchl

Numerous tourism industry partners and private business owners gathered at the Koror State Government (KSG) public hearing on February 20th to share thoughts on the recent legislative bill to increase jellyfish lake and rock island fees.

It was a heavily debated topic and many had significant insights. Clayton Johanes from Blue Marlin, for instance, mentioned that raising the fee at this time will cause a major drawback from the Japan market as consumers plan their trips at least 6 months in advance. Several industry representatives also agreed that Palau is simply getting too expensive because of the varying fees all across the island.

Conversely, Ron Leidich (Rock Island Kayak Expedition) is a proponent for higher fees however, underlines that higher fees must be commensurate to the service expected from the consumer. He adds, “Palau is a diamond, but in many ways a diamond in the rough. Although our attractions are world-class, we must do more than maintain the sites. We have to compare ourselves to the top-end destinations in the world.”

The Palau Visitors Authority (PVA) Chairman Ngiraibelas Tmetuchl concluded with two recommendations: 1. Create a task force to include KSG governor’s designee and speaker designee, PVA, Bureau of Tourism, and all tourism industry partners to conduct a study and provide two or three options to Koror State Government. 2. Justify the allocation of the money, for consumers to understand what they are paying for. (PR)