The aerial view of Palau's famous group of islands. (Screenshot of Battle Trip episode 150)

Despite strong performances of November and December visitor arrivals with both months showing over 30% increase in arrival numbers over same time last year, they were not enough to overcome the prior 10 months numbers and ended 2019 with lowest visitor arrival numbers since 2010, a total of 94,026 in 2019.  Compared to 2018, total 2019 arrivals dropped by 11%.

Last 2 months of 2019 showed dramatic increases over previous month going from -4% in October to 35% in November and 32% in December respectively.   According to visitor arrival statistics from Palau Visitors Authority, all markets showed increase last month with Japan superseding China for the first time since 2013 but overall total arrivals, China still retains the largest market share.

Based on the number of scheduled flights for the month of January, the upward trend in arrival numbers may continue to this January with average of 24 incoming flights a week.

Tourism being the largest segment of Palau’s economy, visitor arrivals is one of the way to gauge the economic performance.  Numbers alone do not reveal a complete picture but they do provide a good indication of tourism sector performance. (L.N. Reklai)