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Chinese arrivals to Palau drop 16% in last quarter

Koror-- Palau saw a 16 percent decline in arrivals from China in the last quarter of 2017, presumably a result of the Chinese government’s cancellation of the Pacific nation’s approved destination status.

China instructed its tourist agencies in November last year to stop all flights to Palau in protest over its full diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which was reinforced by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s visit.

The Remengesau administration, however, shrugged off China’s travel restrictions to the country as local tourism stakeholders try to rebrand Palau as a high-end destination.

Despite the last-quarter drop in arrivals, China continued to be the major source market for this destination with a share of 47.7 percent to 13,712, according the Quarterly Review of Tourist Arrivals in Pacific Island Countries recently published by the South Pacific Tourism Organization or SPTO.

The new figure, however, “was below the 51.8 percent share witnessed in the prior quarter,” the report states. “The second highest Japan accounted for 23.7 percent, followed by Taiwan at 8 percent, South Korea 6 percent, USA 5.5 percent and Europe with 4.6 percent share. All the other countries represented the remaining 4.6 percent share.”

SPTO said the drop in Chinese arrivals to Palau mainly reflected the drastic fall from the scheduled and chartered flights from this source market by 63.9 percent and 17.4 percent, respectively.

Over all, Palau welcomed 28,760 tourists in December 2017, marking a 1.8 percent growth in comparison to the corresponding period in 2016 but declined 16 percent against the previous quarter.”

The positive outturn over the December Quarter of 2016 was boosted by surge in arrivals from Other Asia and Pacific Islands registering the highest growths by 91.2 percent and 90.8 percent, respectively.

The SPTO report, which covers 18 Pacific island countries, presents a review of tourist arrivals in the region in the fourth quarter of 2017 with comparative analysis over the preceding quarter and the corresponding period. (Mar-Vic Cagurangan)

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