Palau’s night market on Valentine’s Day, February 14th was packed with visitors and locals out to enjoy a night of dance performances, local music, and food from different countries represented in Palau.

Despite flight bans and coronavirus fears around the world, the night market was a bustle of activity and fun as visitors of various countries and locals enjoy the night together.

Dance performances by youth groups and community groups raised enthusiastic cheers from spectators and music by the local band with entertainers Kimie and Avery, brought spectators to the dance floor.

This January before the flight ban and restrictions were put in place, Palau Visitors Authority reported an increase of 35% in tourist arrivals over the same period last year.  Palau’s tourist arrival numbers had just begun to rebound in November and December of last year, giving many a thought that maybe Palau is finally rebounding from its 4-year arrival decline streak.

The introduction of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in January has changed that trend.  Restrictions having been extended to the end of March will continue to affect the arrival numbers.  In the previous interview, Minister of Finance Elbuchel Sadang has expressed that the chartered flights of Skymark this month will help improve the picture but the dip in the economy is expected. (L.N. Reklai)