Premier Su Tseng-chang on Thursday said the upcoming launch of a travel bubble between Taiwan and Palau represents the first such bubble to be formed in the Asia-Pacific region and marks an important milestone in bilateral ties. Palau has had no recorded cases of COVID-19 while Taiwan is a COVID-safe country, and the travel bubble will be conducted under five main disease prevention principles. The premier expressed hope that the travel bubble with Palau will be successful and that such arrangements will be made with more countries, allowing the world to come to Taiwan and bringing Taiwan to the world.
Palau is an important diplomatic ally for Taiwan as the two nations have enjoyed 22 years of positive interactions, Premier Su continued. Recently inaugurated Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr. will make his first trip to Taiwan on March 28, and will join Taiwanese tourists on the first bubble flight back to Palau on April 1. This is a momentous occasion for the two island nations, representing one of few travel bubbles in the world and the first of its kind in the Asia-Pacific.
Palau has thus far reported zero confirmed COVID-19 cases. As a tourism-driven nation, Palau welcomes Taiwanese tourists, but all disease prevention measures must be implemented, the premier emphasized. Likewise, inbound tour groups from Palau will be required to provide contact information at the venues and businesses they visit to protect the health and safety of the Taiwanese public, the premier said.
Given its success in containing COVID-19, Taiwan is one of the safest places in the world, Premier Su said. Several other countries have expressed interest in forming travel bubbles with Taiwan. The premier hoped the successful experiences gained from the travel bubble with Palau will lead to more tourism and exchanges with other relatively safe countries.