The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) yesterday pledged to work with local travel agencies to promote tours to Palau.
The ministry made the remarks after Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr last week accused China Airlines of “poisoning” its tourism market by frequently canceling flights to the Micronesian nation.
In March, Taiwan and Palau signed a “travel bubble” agreement, but due to a spike in locally transmitted COVID-19 infections in Taiwan, flights between the two countries were temporarily suspended from mid-May to the end of July, before being resumed on Aug. 1.
Photo courtesy of Cola Tour
While flights to Ngerulmud reached an average load factor of 70 percent in August and September, all departing flights from Taipei were canceled this month due to a lack of travelers.
Whipps’ criticism of China Airlines was the focus of a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday, as lawmakers reviewed the ministry’s budget plans for the Tourism Development Fund and the Freeway Construction Fund.
Taiwan People’s Party Legislator Chiu Chen-yuan (邱臣遠) said that the airline should dispatch at least one flight per day to stabilize the Taiwan-Palau tourism market, but the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) remains cautious toward diplomatic allies, even though they might have relatively few COVID-19 cases.
The “travel bubble” agreement with Palau not only helped shore up the outbound tourism market, but it also enhanced Taiwan’s image in the international community, Chiu said, adding that the ministry should work with travel agencies to offer a series of package tours.
“Taiwan does not have many diplomatic allies and it is not good when the president of one of our allies publicly expresses dissatisfaction with tourism between the two countries,” he said.
Independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) said that, initially, flights to Palau were packed, because many people wanted to get vaccinated there due to a vaccine shortage in Taiwan at the time.
He asked Wang what the government would do now that Taiwan has a sufficient supply of COVID-19 vaccines.
This month’s flights before Saturday were canceled because each one had fewer than 20 passengers, Wang said, adding that China Airlines has reduced its service to Palau from five flights per week to one per week.
“The Tourism Bureau will discuss how to better target scenic attractions in Palau with travel agencies arranging tours there. The ministry will also work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and China Airlines to solve issues related to flights to Palau,” he said. “We hope to find a solution that will not disrupt the airline’s operations, while stabilizing the tourism market between the two countries.”
Tourism Bureau Director-General Chang Shi-chung (張錫聰) said that Palau is a “paradise for water sports enthusiasts,” and a safe country because it does not have any COVID-19 cases.
Bureau statistics showed that 697 people traveled to Palau in August and 965 visited the country in September, but the number fell to 385 people last month.
Taiwanese actress Big S, also known as Barbie Hsu (徐熙媛), and Chinese restaurateur Wang Xiaofei (汪小菲) officially announced their divorce yesterday, stating the decision was cordial and that they would be raising their two children together. The statement came by proxy through the couple’s legal counsel, filed by both Wang and Hsu. Hsu and Wang thanked fans for their love and support, with the couple saying that fate had blessed them with a time of happiness, and that they were grateful for their time together. They said that while they walked hand-in-hand as husband and wife, they would continue a cordial relationship as
DESTABILIZING: Beijing’s efforts to choke Taiwan, pressure its friends and hamper its democracy are a threat to the world, AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk said China’s provocative military activities near Taiwan are destabilizing and risk “miscalculation,” American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Sandra Oudkirk said yesterday, reiterating the US’ objection to any unilateral changes to the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait. Oudkirk made the remarks in a speech at the annual conference of the Association of International Relations in Taipei. “In the Indo-Pacific region, America’s effort to resolve and manage differences with the leadership of the People’s Republic of [PRC] faces distinct challenges,” she said, referencing a range of actions by China that she said run counter to the shared values and interests of the
CCP IDEOLOGY: MAC Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng said the CCP’s consolidation around one leader would shrink the space for economic and private endeavors Beijing plans to intensify its unification campaign, a Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official said yesterday in an assessment of statements by Chinese leaders, while stressing the importance of consensus among Taiwanese. At a conference on Chinese development and security prospects in the Taiwan Strait, MAC Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) noted key developments in Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rhetoric. Much attention has been given to the sixth plenum of the CCP Central Committee, which on Nov. 11 issued the party’s third-ever “historical resolution,” paving the way for Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) to retain power through next year’s leadership reshuffle, Chiu said. According
EXTRADITION POSSIBLE? The suspect, who is quarantining upon arrival in Xiamen, is accused of killing a coffee trader on a street near his house in Sindian District The suspect in an execution-style murder of a businessman in New Taipei City’s Sindian District (新店) has fled to China and officials are negotiating his extradition, the New Taipei City Police Department said on Tuesday. The suspect, surnamed Huang (黃), took a flight from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 2pm on that day to Xiamen, where he is staying in a quarantine hotel, as required by Chinese COVID-19 regulations, the department said. Investigators accuse Huang of shooting dead a local coffee trader surnamed He (何) on a street near his residence when he was returning from dropping off his daughter at her