A charter flight in which President Surangel Whipps was landed at Taoyuan International Airport to begin a four-day visit and to begin what the two sides are charging as the first passenger balloon in Asia.
He is due to return to Palau on Thursday with a group of 110 Taiwanese tourists on his first weekly flight.
The plan is to eventually have 16 flights a week on the route, a major lifeline for Palau’s economy, which relied on tourism for more than half of its gross domestic product before the pandemic.
“The main reason we’re going is really to open a passenger corridor because tourism is our biggest economic driver and it’s important for tourism to restart,” Whipps told Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) in a recent interview. “I think it’s important to show the world that this can work.”
Palau, which lies about 1,000 kilometers east of the Philippines, is one of the few places on Earth that has never recorded a Covid-19 case.
Taiwanese visitors must pass a coronavirus test before the flight, can only travel in tourist groups and are prohibited from traveling individually.