Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Shark Sanctuary a Boon for Palau Economy

Earlier this month the Island Times reported that Palau had reached 100,000 tourist arrivals for the first time ever.
Local officials led by President Johnson Toribiong welcomed the 100,000th visitor to Palau who arrived at the Palau International Airport Thursday evening on a Continental flight from Guam.

Palau Visitors Authority said the 100,000th visitor was ushered from the plane to the VIP lounge and was greeted by Toribiong, members of the diplomatic corps, lawmakers, cabinet ministers and other officials.
Many of the tourist arrivals around the Pacific are falling, but Palau is trending the other way.  So what is the reason?  Shark conservation.

Jackson Henry is the chairman of the Palau Visitors Authority. Here is what he had to say: "Palau also appreciates President Toribiong declaring Palau as the world’s first shark sanctuary. His message has resonated around the globe, bringing Palau accolades and putting Palau under the world’s brightest spot light. I say the recent surge of tourism arrival is credited to the President’s declaration. Now the world is dashing to Palau anxious to see what this first shark sanctuary has in store."

And he is right. A recent economic study found Palau's reef sharks are worth millions of dollars each year to the economy and account for almost 10% of GDP.

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