Palau tourism is suffering from being caught up in a diplomatic tug-of-war between China and Taiwan
China has banned tour groups, tagging it as an illegal destination due to its lack of diplomatic status causing empty hotels in Palau
Palau is one of Taipei’s 18 remaining allies worldwide and is being put under pressure by China to switch allegiance.
Going to places like Koror, Palau, the effects of the Chinese influence is apparent. So many empty hotels empty restaurants, boarded up travel agencies and docked boats.
Palau, once a popular destination, now even has airlines terminating flights.
This is not the first time China has pulled this move, as just last year it halted tours to South Korea after Seoul put in a controversial U.S. missile defense system.
Putting pressure on Palau to move away from Taiwan is a way to keep the ‘one-China principle.
The one-China principle is the pre-condition and political foundation for China to maintain and develop friendly cooperative relations with all countries around the world.
China says that Taiwan is an inseparable part of China. That it is part of the ‘one China’ principle, which is a core government policy.
Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. said, “It is not a secret that China would like us and the diplomatic friends of Taiwan to switch to them, but for Palau, it is not our choice to decide the ‘one China’ policy.”
Palau welcomes investments and tourism from China but believes currently that the administration’s principles and democratic ideals are more closely aligned with Taiwan.
In an effort for Palau to adapt to China’s pullback, Palau decided to focus on attracting a lower number of visitors, but bigger spenders.
“The reality is that numbers did not mean big revenues for Palau. It actually made us more determined to seek the policy of quality versus quantity,” said Remengesau, responding to how an upset China has caused empty hotels in Palau.
Unfortunately for Palau, many resort constructions are on hold, with gates continuing to rust. How long will this last, no one really knows?
Sonia Rina Landry is a passionate entrepreneur, speaker, author, and personal development coach. She is an outspoken advocate of the free market economy and has helped countless clients identify their core values, envision and realize goals that resonate with those values. She oversees several businesses online and offline.