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Say ‘I do’ in Paradise

Palau seeks to get a share of the growing wedding market

Koror — Tying the knot in paradise is a dream wedding for many couples — especially the Japanese — and with the rise in the popularity of destination weddings worldwide, Palau seeks to tap into this niche market. Efforts are being made to market the Pacific nation as a destination to exchange vows—a segment of the market that its neighboring islands, Guam and Saipan, specialize in.

You can never go wrong with picturesque Palau, from a beach-themed wedding with the sunset as the bride and groom’s backdrop to underwater wedding to exchanging vows near an abai house, with several tourists looking on.

Photos from unique places like Palau also stand out in social media feeds, making the island nation truly a one-of a-kind wedding in paradise. The global wedding industry is estimated to amount to $300 billion with a big bulk of the revenues due to destination weddings, according to a data presented during a global conference of destination wedding planners in Dubai in 2014.

Palau is seeking to cash in on this trend. In his recent State of the Republic Address, President Tommy Remengesau said exploring the wedding market is in line with its aim of a high value-brand and that it is looking into niche markets.

“It is important to remember that our high-value brand is about showcasing the beauty of our natural environment, of experiencing the unspoiled beauty of our lands and our pristine seas and our rich cultural heritage. This brand is about diversifying our product offerings through niche markets such as eco-based, cultural, sports, and weddings, and honeymoons,” Remengesau said.

Leah Whiten-Petrus, owner of local company Leah Support Services said she believes there is already a market in Palau as a site for destination weddings.

Having been hired as a wedding planner on two occasions, she said her clients chose to get married in Palau because they fell in love with the place.

She said Palau could be promoted as a place of love. She also added there is less bureaucracy in getting married in Palau. The process, she said its quite easy especially, if you have a local person on the ground to help facilitate your dream vacation.

Hotels such as Palau Pacific Resort are already in the market, arranging weddings for local and tourists alike in their resort.

Ken Zeng, Managing Director of Venlis Ltd. a Singapore- based wedding planner firm, is tapping Palau to include in its destination wedding places.

Zeng, together with his wife, visited in Palau last month to further look into the country’s potential as a wedding destination. He said Palau already has a reputation as a unique place for couples, where they can create special memories.

Zeng said a lot of their clients are looking for destinations that are “quiet, unique and nature-oriented.”

The firm also has offices in China and Malaysia. He said Venlis has arranged, organized, created wedding dreams for clients that took them to Hongkong, Macau, Indonesia, Thailand, Saipan among others.

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