Palau president, others talk about tourism in light of pandemic

TAIWAN VISIT: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, right, welcomes Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr., center, and first lady Valerie Whipps on March 30 at the president's office in Taipei. Photo courtesy Taiwan president's office

The fourth and final day of the 2021 University of Guam Conference on Island Sustainability will include a panel that will be joined by Palau President Surangel S. Whipps Jr.

The 10th president of Palau will join the panel on “Islands Are Rising for Economy Recovery.”

It will be from 9:40-10:30 a.m. today virtually at www.uog.edu/cis2021/registration.

During the panel session, Whipps will be asked about last week’s launch of the travel bubble between Palau and Taiwan, the first of its kind in Asia since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic, Palau’s tourist-reliant economy welcomed around 100,000 visitors a year.

Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, many Palauans were left unemployed after the closing of the island’s borders. Since the travel bubble’s launch on April 1, Palau has welcomed more than 100 tourists from Taiwan.

The “Islands Are Rising for Economic Recovery” panel will also include:

• Henk Rogers, founder and board chair of Blue Planet Foundation, entrepreneur of Tetris, and champion of Clean Energy

• Samuel Shinohara, managing director of operations for Asia/Pacific, United Airlines

• Alfredo Coro, vice mayor, Del Carmen, Siargao Islands, a tourism destination in the Philippines

• Benito Wheatley, advisor on international affairs, Office of the Premier of the British Virgin Islands

The “Islands Are Rising for Economic Recovery” panel will be moderated by Jackie Marati, senior vice president and chief communications and corporate social responsibility officer of the Bank of Guam. She also serves as the chairwoman of the Island Sustainability Community Advisory Board.

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