Pushing for quality tourists, not quantity
By: L.N. Reklai
January 3, 2018 (Koror, Palau) “I want to clarify that our visitor arrival numbers are not on rebound and we are not returning to some number that we set to reach,” stated President Tommy Remengesau Jr. at the recent press conference.
“We made a conscious decision to pursue Free Independent Travellers and we cut the number of charter flights as part of that decision,” asserted Remengesau. “ We need to focus on FIT travelers,” he added.
In 2015, Palau reached over 160,000 visitors with visitors from People’s Republic of China representing almost 70% of the total market share. Palau government decided to cut the number of charter flights in half by October of 2015.
Visitor arrivals have been declining each month since. In 2016, the numbers dropped by 16% compared to 2015.. November 2017 arrival numbers was at 112,821. If December arrivals stay at same level as November, Palau would reach around 122,199 or about 12% less than 2016 numbers.
“We had anticipated lower revenue from tourism when we reduced the flights. We were still able to collect more than we anticipated in revenue from tourism related activities despite reduction in visitors,” says President Remengesau.
Pushing high-end tourism development as one of his priority goals for 2018, Remengesau emphasized the quality of visitors, not the quantity. “We will support any airline that would bring quality visitors from any destination such as Japan, Taiwan, Hongkong or others.”
“We need to stay away from packaged tours and focus on FIT travelers,” stated Remengesau. [/restrict]