TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Wednesday (March 17) announced that the first flight of the new Taiwan-Palau travel bubble will take off on April 1.
On Wednesday, the CECC, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) held a joint press conference to announce the official opening of the new travel bubble between Taiwan and Palau. At the same time, Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr.and Taiwan Ambassador to Palau Wallace Chow (周民淦) held a simultaneous press conference in Palau announcing the new tourism bubble.
During the press briefing, Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) Deputy Minister Chi Wen-Jong (祁文中) said that during the initial stage of the bubble, there will be two flights from Taiwan to Palau per week. Chi said that they will run every Thursday and Sunday with the first flight taking off on April 1.
He said that initially, the routes will be flown exclusively by Taiwan's national carrier China Airlines (CAL) using Boeing 737-800 jets. Although the aircraft are capable of holding 158 passengers, there will be a limit of 110 bubble travelers per flight and a maximum weekly limit of 220 travelers.
The remaining seats will be used by Palau officials or personnel from Taiwan's embassy in Palau. In the early stages of the bubble, the tours will mainly be handled by agencies that have operated trips to Palau before.
Travel itineraries will mainly consist of stays of four days and three nights or five days and four nights. The CECC said that under the current tourism bubble, Palau is only allowing visitors from Taiwan for sightseeing purposes and they must stay with their tour groups at all times, with no individual itineraries allowed.
Limits on the numbers of travelers will be reviewed based on the ever-changing situation of the bubble implementation and developments with the pandemic. As for travel itineraries, they should be arranged in accordance with official guidelines.
The total number of travel days is limited to eight days, including the day of arrival and the day of departure. Participants in Taiwan to Palau group tours must undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and cannot depart until they are able to present negative results of a coronavirus test.
Members of tour groups from Palau headed to Taiwan for travel must present a negative result of a PCR test taken within three days of their flight. Taiwan's Tourism Bureau said that it will cooperate with the CECC in announcing developments with the pandemic and an ongoing review of the border control situation, and make appropriate adjustments and announcements in due course.