2 Sep 2013

Improved air links will feature on Pacific summit agenda

7:32 pm on 2 September 2013

Pacific business people meeting in the Marshall Islands want political leaders to back initiatives and remove hurdles to creating new airline and shipping services in the region.

At Monday's Private Sector Dialogue ahead of this week's Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit, business people from the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu said lack of air service makes development of tourism and other business opportunities difficult.

But in Palau a chamber of commerce partnership with the visitors bureau and tourism association has seen visitor numbers nearly double to 120,000 in the past years.

The country is now served by seven airlines instead of two but the chamber of commerce president, Ken Uyehara, says they want more.

"We are looking for air carriers from like Australia and New Zealand. We have air carriers from Taiwan, like Japan, South Korea and even United Airlines that flies through Guam. So we are looking at diversifying visitors."

Ken Uyehara