TWO years ago the number of Chinese tourists that travel to Palau barely reached 30,000, but by 2015, there were 87,058 visitors from China and the glaring change was that this market have edged out the other markets which have historically held the top spot for years.
It has been said in many Palau forums in the social media how Koror, the capital of Palau looks like “Little Beijing.” Months after months the number of Chinese tourists are increasing while the rest are decreasing. The Chinese presence is not only seen by the growing number of tourists, there have been a lot of Chinese restaurants and hotels going up in the last couple of months.
Although revenues are up as a result of the tourism numbers breaking the 100,000 mark, this development has been a cause of concern for many. Last year, Palau was in uproar when a Chinese flag was placed on a Japanese WWII wreck underwater. Citizens have also complained that Chinese tourists have no concern about the island environment, culture and history.
Chinese investors who are buying or leasing buildings and lands had left some Palauans and residents homeless. Kambes Kesolei, a local journalist said that the Chinese investors also conduct businesses under the guise of a “front business.”
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