Authorities From Guam Work With Palau to Increase Commerce

Authorities From Guam Work With Palau to Increase Commerce

The Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) and Guam International Airport Authority (GIAA) paid a visit to the President of the Republic of Palau as well as the Australian Ambassador to Palau in Koror on February 22. The visit was intended to strengthen ties with Palau and seek air routing opportunities for visa waiver countries like Taiwan, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and other potential travel markets to Guam.

Leading the Guam delegate was GVB President and CEO Carl T.C. Gutierrez, GIAA Marketing Program Coordinator Elfrie Koshiba, GVB Senior Marketing Manager Taiwan Gabbie Franquez, and GVB Executive Assistant to the President & CEO Valerie Sablan.

L-R – Elfrie Koshiba, GIAA Marketing Program Coordinator IV; Valerie Sablan, Executive Assistant to the GVB President & CEO; Gabbie Franquez, GVB Senior Marketing Manager – Taiwan; Caleb Udui, Jr., Minister of Finance; Surangel Whipps Jr., Palau President; Gov. Carl T.C. Gutierrez, GVB President & CEO; Gaafar J. Uherbelau, Minister of Health & Human Services; Ngiraibelas Tmetuchl, Minister of Human Resources, Culture, Tourism and Development.

The Guam delegates first met with Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr., on February 21 to discuss shared goals in tourism and sustainability among the islands. Also in attendance was Palau Minister of Human Resources, Culture, Tourism and Development Ngirai Tmetuchl, Minister of Finance Kaleb Udui, Jr., Minister of Health & Human Services Gaafar J. Uherbelau.

As an independent nation that also relies on the tourism industry, Palau welcomes visitors from around the world with the majority arriving from China and Taiwan, a market that has slowed in Guam due to the lack of direct flights.

GVB and Palau expressed a deep interest in partnering as a cohesive front to seek the extension of flights from Taipei-Koror and route development of Taipei-Guam-Koror.

President Whipps and Gutierrez discussed the benefits of U.S. national security and Taiwan national security, despite Palau’s recent offers from China, and how Palau in its sovereignty would play an instrumental role in the effort to acquire extended air routes on behalf of the Micronesia Islands. Both dignitaries agreed on the importance of this mission and the benefits to our islands’ sustainability. While in Palau, GVB continued the discussion with Minister Tmetuchl to discuss in depth future plans of collaboration and market strategies that benefit both island destinations.

Palau extended its full support and will accompany Guam on a trip to Taiwan in May to create a united stance in meeting with Executive Yuan Vice Premier Cheng Wen-tsan and various Taiwanese government officials, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which is the de facto U.S. Embassy in Taiwan, and United Airlines.

“As an honorary citizen of Palau, it gives me great confidence that President Whipps and his trusted cabinet members extend their sovereignty to help Guam not only to expand our tourism industry, but also for national security,” said GVB President & CEO Gutierrez. “It is because of our close relationship with Palau that we must latch on to their sovereignty and explore opportunities for new market viability.”

Palau receives regular direct flights from United Airlines from Guam, China Airlines from Taipei, Alii Palau Airlines from Singapore, Nauru Airlines island-hopper, and Air Niugini from Papua New Guinea and Australia.

On February 22, the Guam delegates paid a courtesy visit to Australia Ambassador to Palau Richelle Turner, who gave more detailed information on the travel from Australia and Papua New Guinea to Palau via carrier Air Niugini. Air Niugini flies from Brisbane-Port Moresby-Koror with 180 passengers and food cargo once a week. Turner expressed that there is interest to travel into Guam, but have been denied clearance of groups in the past. Both Australia and Papua New Guinea are included in the Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program and their citizens may visit Guam visa-free for up to 45 days. The Ambassador’s next visit to Guam will be in April of this year, at which time further discussions will ensue.
SOURCE: Guam Partners With Palau Officials to Expand Tourism BY: eTurboNews | eTN  

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