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Green fee for environmental impact needs explanation

By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR (Palau Horizon, Oct. 26, 2009) - An official of the Japan Airlines expressed concerns on the pending implementation of the new environmental impact fee to be collected from tourists in Palau.

Katsuaki Suzuki, Japan Airlines, Executive Officer & Deputy General Manager Passenger Sales & Marketing Division in a letter to the President’s Office said , the new green fee will confuse the Japanese tourists who are price sensitive nowadays.

Suzuki asked in the letter whether the green fee can be imposed next year to give tour agencies in Japan more time to explain it to their customers.

The new fee will collect US$35 departure tax from tourists starting Nov.1. Suzuki at the same time said, the airline has not been informed of the changes from the government or concerned authorities yet.

"We want the authorities to understand that US$35 including the current departure tax would definitely impact the Japanese demand. Japanese consumers became so price-sensitive these days," he said.

He noted that in Japan, the travel agencies should fully explain to their customers before contracting the package tours the total amounts they should pay including taxes or fees and charges in addition to the detailed tour itinerary.

He said to explain this, agencies usually use tour brochures which is produced twice a year, one in early March and the other early September.

He said in order to explain this to Japanese customers, any new tax, fee or charge should be printed and explained on a tour brochure, and requires at least seven month advance notice, depending on when it becomes effective.

He said that the airline will highly appreciate it if President Johnson Toribiong grants the request to delay the implementation of the fee.

Toribiong however said the implementation can no longer be delayed will become effective Nov. 1.

The Japanese tourists is the number one market in Palau, at least 20,000 tourists from Japan visits the country every year.

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