Palau delegation in Taiwan to promote travel bubble

Palau President Surangel S. Whipps, Jr. (PNC file photo)

A Palau delegation is now in Taiwan to drum up interest in the proposed “travel bubble” between the two island nations.

Palau President Surangel S. Whipps, Jr. and Taiwan’s Ambassador to Palau, Wallace Chow, announced the launching of the travel bubble between the two nations earlier this month.

During the same event, Whipps announced plans to visit Taiwan before the official opening of the special travel corridor on April 1.

The Palau president and his delegation boarded a returning humanitarian charter flight to Palau on March 28. They are now in Taiwan to start their promotional trip.

At the press conference at the airport, President Whipps and the First Lady were met by the head of the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Joseph Wu, and other officials.

The delegation included US Ambassador to Palau John Nyland and Taiwan’s Ambassador to Palau, Wallace Chow.

Members of the OAK, the Palau National Congress and the House of Delegates, Palau Visitors Authority, Ministry of Health, and industry representatives also accompanied President Whipps.

He says they are definitely excited and ready to be in Taiwan to launch the special travel corridor between the two nations.

He said this is the first bubble between two COVID-safe and COVID-free countries.

But the opening of the travel bubble also raised concerns in the community and during a press conference with Palau media last week, Whipps assured that the government had placed measures to test and also restrict the movement of Taiwanese tourists visiting Palau.

“We are testing them before they board the plane,” Whipps said.

According to the Palau Office of the President, the inaugural live-in flight is set for April 1, with over 100 tourists from Taiwan who will be visiting under strict guidelines.

Initially, there will be two scheduled flights out of Taiwan per week but that could expand to more flights in the future.

Passengers are restricted to Taiwanese passport holders and those who have been tested and cleared before boarding the plane in Taiwan.