Protest grows over new fees

KOROR – A letter to Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr, signed by owners and managers of 40 Japanese companies involved in tourism, protested the new law raising the environmental impact fee and visa fee.

The new fees will take effect on October 31 this year.

Citing that $US150 ($F315) per person on top of existing fees such as Rock Island fee, Jellyfish Lake and other states fees will be too costly.

“We think a group of family and friends would rather spend and enjoy that much on local souvenir and experience local tradition of Palau,” the letter stated.

The letter cites that decreasing number of tourists from Japan will further decrease if this law is implemented.

“Lesser income, lesser taxes and poorer service” will result if tourist numbers drop. Possible closure of some of the businesses may result due to a decrease in tourists,” the letter asserted.

The businesses state the “infrastructure of the entire Palau such as water supply, electricity supply, sewage system, airport, etc., are still in dire need of development” and does not support high-end visitors.

The letter further stated the “future aim and vision for Palau in the near term might never be realised”.

The new law RPPL 9-49, the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act, Section 5 and Section 6 raised environmental impact fee from $US50 ($F105) to $US100 ($210) and establish a visa fee of $US50 for everyone except for certain countries and special exemptions.

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