Palau: More flights announced, Taiwan to assist tourism promotions

Experience Airai – Taiwan Council of Indigenous Peoples in Palau (September 2022)

More flights to Palau are coming this November, with United Airlines (UA) adding two more flights a week, revealed Peter Polloi, Director General of Civil Aviation at Palau National Aviation Administration.

UA’s schedule for November adds one more Guam-Palau flight and a second Manila flight added Polloi.

“This brings UA weekly flights very close to pre-COVID numbers.  They are only one flight short from what they had before the COVID-19 pandemic,” added Minister Charles Obichang of Palau’s Ministry of Public Infrastructures & Industries.

Palau Minister of Tourism, Ngirai Tmetuchl reported that China Airlines would have two scheduled flights a week starting in November. After a meeting with the Chairman of China Airlines, President Surangel Whipps Jr., and Minister Tmetuchl, China Airlines agreed to two scheduled flights a week to Palau next month.

“Regular flights start mid-November. Travelers can book online now. Round trip ticket is around US$800,” announced Minister Tmetuchl.

China Airlines currently flies on a charter basis.  With the relaxation of travel restrictions in Taiwan, which became effective October 13, an increase in travel between the two countries is expected.

Taiwan served pre-COVID as a major gateway for tourists from Europe and the United States to Palau.  Minister Tmetuchl said that meeting the Chairman of China Airlines was one that President Whipps requested in this recent State visit to Taiwan.

Minister Tmetuchl said that during the visit to Taiwan, he met with Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau and the private sector in Taiwan. Tmetuchl was the guest speaker at the meeting.

“We asked that the flights (to Palau) be bookable online, regularly scheduled, and cheap,” stated Minister Tmetuchl, to increase travel to Taiwan and Palau.

Another airline prospect is Korea’s Jeju Airline, which, according to Minister Obichang, is “very promising.”  The work process to get the airline to fly here is “progressing.”  Jeju Airlines is a low-cost carrier that also has international routes.

The recovery of Palau’s tourism industry depends on the resumption of airline routes to Palau.  The 2022 Asian Development Bank (ADB) report said, “In addition, lack of readily available airline routes or schedules to Palau and the high cost of fuel and travel resulting from both the global economic recovery and Ukraine war, indicate an elusive outlook for tourism recover.”.

Meanwhile, Taiwan Bureau of Tourism will be working with Palau to promote both destinations, Minister Tmetuchl said.

The partnership is expected to create cross-tourism packages between Taiwan and Palau, added Tmetuchl.

A large delegation from the Taiwan Tribes was invited to join Palau’s Mechesil Belau Conference next year and participate in the Austronesian Forum in Palau.