Thursday, May 1, 2014

2023 Planning Committee Consultations: Yap Business Community embraces tourism development to promote economic sustainability

COLONIA, Yap (April 30, 2014) – Removing impediments and developing policies to promote tourism for economic growth and ensuring long-term fiscal sustainability is the preferred way forward for the State of Yap, elaborated by the Yap State private sector community.

The 2023 Planning Committee held consultations with the private sector community, government leaders and officials, and NGO representatives in Yap to receive recommendations and input to the 2023 Planning Committees’ Action Plan. The key themes of the consultation focused on identification of viable economic projects and identification of impediments needed to be removed. The delegation to Yap was led by President Mori and accompanied by Governor Elimo from Chuuk, Governor Anefal from Yap, and representatives for governors John Ehsa of Pohnpei and Lyndon Johnson of Kosrae.

Key impediments raised by the Yap private sector community were the high cost and low frequency of flights into Yap, limited quality and number of rooms available to accommodate increased visitors via chartered flights, limited tourism products and activities in Yap, and difficulty of accessing capital. The potential for cruise ships was highlighted, but insufficient infrastructure, and stringent immigration, customs and quarantine regulations have reduced FSM’s competitiveness as a destination for cruise ships.

The private sector community in Yap recommended more direct flights from Asia to Yap, financial assistance for local promotion of tourism products and activities, and the stream-lining of laws and regulations at all levels of government. The private sector called for more transparent and stable foreign investment laws and regulations. They also requested technical assistance for the development of a tourism master plan. Major improvement of the airport (both terminal and run-way) and seaport in Yap was also agreed upon as priority infrastructure development needs for tourism enhancement in the State.  The private sector requested an update from the Airline Task Force on its progress including on the “Fly Micronesia” project.

The 2023 Planning Committee was established with the mandate to undertake an assessment of the fiscal sustainability of the nation in the post 2023 period and develop an implementable, time-specific Action Plan to prepare the nation for the challenges that exist in the post 2023 period. It needs to be costed with resourcing identified from local and external sources.

The Committee is targeting to complete its Action Plan in October of this year with widespread public engagement through consultations and awareness activities.

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