As China's bullying cripples tourism to Palau, Taiwan steps up to help its ally

Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced increased weekly flights from Taipei to Palau on Thursday July 19 to help encourage tourism to the country

Palau Mily Way, Rock Islands (Image from Palau Dive Adventures)

Palau Mily Way, Rock Islands (Image from Palau Dive Adventures)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Last week on July 13, Palau Pacific Airways announced it was ceasing flight operations because Beijing had cut off Chinese tourism to the country in order to punish Palau for its diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

In response the problem of dwindling tourism facing Palau, Taiwan is now stepping up to do what it can to assist the country. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday, July 19 announced that Taiwan's national airline, China Airlines, had added two more weekly flights to its Palau flight schedule.

The press statement from the ministry said "Helping our diplomatic allies with economic development is one of the important tasks in promoting bilateral cooperation,” reports Channel News Asia.

It is hoped that the increased number of flights and news of Palau’s difficulties will spark interest from Taiwanese citizens and help boost the country’s tourism industry which is suffering from a serious drought.

In 2016, Taiwan tourists reportedly accounted for 10 percent of tourism to Palau, while Chinese tourists accounted for 47 percent.

Following the news of Palau Pacific Airway’s “indefinite” suspension of flight operations, commentators on Taiwan News’ Facebook and Twitter pages said that Palau looked like a wonderful tourist destination.

Many jokingly added that now would be the perfect time for a vacation to Palau, since it is almost guaranteed to be empty of large noisy tour groups, providing couples or solitary travelers an excellent opportunity to have the beaches and sites to themselves.

For those interested in making a summer or fall trip to the beautiful country of Palau, here is a list of 10 Amazing Palau Points of Interest that will make for a spectacular vacation. Check out Tripadvisor’s list of Top 10 Hotels in Palau to start planning a trip!

(Associated Press Image)

(Image from Palau Dive Adventures)