6 Dec 2017

China tourism stance no harm to Palau

7:44 am on 6 December 2017
Palau aims for high-end tourism

Palau aims for high-end tourism Photo: RNZI Walter Zweifel

An academic says China's severing of tourism ties to Palau could be a much needed boon for Palau's local economy.

In November, United Daily News reported China had banned its travel agencies from arranging visits to Palau, where Chinese tourists were more than half of its visitors last year.

The Taiwan Strategy Research Association's Fabrizio Bozzato says Palau's President Tommy Remengesau has made no secret of his opposition to an overbearing influx of Chinese tourists.

Earlier this year Mr Remengesau announced plans to require hotels opening in Palau to be five-star in a bid to restrict local tourism to affluent tourists and in 2015 the government halved charter flights from China.

"Palau is a small reality. Barely a population of 25,000, they don't actually need such a big number of tourists to sustain the local tourism industry. They might be looking at quality over quantity," Dr Bozzato said.

He said although the move from China was intended to pressure Palau to cut ties with Taiwan, it's unlikely to have any success.