Palau Government Gives Ministry Power To Regulate Tourism

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment, and Tourism to improve industry

By Jose Rodriguez T. Senase

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Nov. 16, 2015) – President Remengesau signed into law yesterday the measure that provides the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment, and Tourism (MNRET) with the necessary organization and power to effectively regulate the tourism sector in several key areas.

In signing Senate Bill 9-167, HD1, which became RPPL 9-53, the President said the new law will assist in improving the tourism sector.

Also present during the signing ceremony were House of Delegates (HOD) Speaker Sabino Anastacio, Delegate Marino Ngemaes, and Senators Phillip Reklai Raynold Oilouch.

"As you know, the tourism sector is our most valuable industry and we must ensure that we maximize its potential for the economic benefit of Palauans, and that we provide a first class offering for tourists visiting our "Pristine Paradise Palau". The legislation I am signing into law today will further both of such goals," he said.

The President noted that in February 2014, he signed into law Executive Order No. 357 that established the Bureau of Tourism under the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment, and Tourism (MNRET).

"That Executive Order combined with Senate Bill 9-167, HD1 will provide MNRET with the necessary organization and power to effectively regulate the tourism sector in several key areas. I am confident that Minister Sengebau and the staff of MNRET, specifically the Bureau of Tourism, will further the objectives of the Executive Order and this piece of legislation in an efficient and effective manner," he stressed.

The new law provides that the MNRET shall be responsible for developing the national occupational standards for tourism. Among the powers and duties bestowed by the measure to the MNRET are the following: 1) To regulate tourism activities and services throughout Palau, in accordance with the national tourism plan; 2) To register, license, and grade all tourism-related businesses including cottages and private residences engaged in guest house services; 3) To develop and implement, in consultation with relevant states, national, and quasi-government agencies and stakeholders, criteria for standardization and classification of tourism facilities and services.

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