Palau Economy

Economy

Agriculture and self-sufficiency

Many people on Palau work in agriculture and are largely self- sufficient with the cultivation of cassava, coconuts, bananas and sweet potatoes. Fishing also plays a role in the livelihood of the people.

Only coconuts, copra and a little fish are actually exported. There is almost no industry. But Palau has to import many products, especially machinery, gasoline and food. The residents buy these in shops and supermarkets. But there are only big shops on the bigger islands.

Still, Palau has the highest per capita income (GDP) of any Pacific island nation. The income comes mostly from tourism and through support from abroad, especially the USA, which is also the most important trading partner.

Palau mainly attracts divers

Tourism is still in its infancy in Palau, but it is still an important source of income and the number of visitors is increasing. Palau is known as a diving area, but requires diving experience, as the currents on the coast should not be underestimated. Therefore, only experienced divers should venture underwater here. The airport and the main port can be found on Koror.

Most of the tourists come from Asia, especially Japan and Taiwan. Tourists from China also like to travel to Palau. In any case, it would be important to improve the transport connections, so the number of tourists could increase.

Typical Palau

Why do people in Palau spit on the street?

When you visit Palau, a country in Oceania defined by allpubliclibraries, you may encounter people on the street who keep spitting on the street. You probably find this disgusting, because we don’t have a habit of spitting that people appreciate. But what are the Palau people spitting out?

In many areas of Asia, but also here in Palau, people chew the fruits of the betel plant. This is mixed with other substances such as lime and in this connection acts like a drug that numbs people but also makes them happy.

Why do people chew these nuts?

Especially people who otherwise have few things to be happy about chew such nuts. In addition, the appetite is dampened, people feel less hungry. And in those countries where many people are starving, they find relief. The substances in it make the spit red. That looks disgusting then. The gums that are receding also turn red. So you can tell if someone is chewing these nuts pretty quickly by looking into their mouth. Often times, betel nut chewing is part of ancient traditions.

Nature conservation really big!

The protection of nature and the environment has always been typical of the population of Palau. In this way, the children learn very early that they should protect nature and, above all, the sea. The Palauers protect different species of fish during spawning times, when the fish offspring grows. During this time they do not catch the fish. The Palau people are successful with this method because they preserve their important fish stocks and do not fish the seas empty. A smart idea that should be copied. This also maintains the natural balance.

This is especially true for the sharks that frolic in large numbers in the reefs and waters of Palau (cf. Animals – Palau). In 2003 a president of Palau signed an agreement against the severing of shark fins. In 2009 another president declared the waters around Palau a shark sanctuary. Not only could the fins not be cut off, but sharks could no longer be caught. Other states followed the example of Palau.

The largest marine reserve in the entire Pacific has existed around Palau since 2015. However, it is unfortunately not that easy to control the protected area.

Body painting

Tattoos, that is, tattoos, were very important in Palau well into the 20th century. Based on the body tattoos, the social position of the respective person could be recognized. Both women and men wore tattoos, although the tattoos themselves were only made by women. The more tattoos someone had, the higher their position within society.

Those of lower social rank could not afford tattoos. In men, the tattoos were mostly on the wrist, in women almost all over the body. On the adjacent photo you can see the patterns that were tattooed.

Everyday Life

Tradition and modernity side by side

America’s influence on life in Palau is great. There is also a great economic dependence on the USA, which supports Palau with money. People wear shorts and hats to protect themselves from the sun. They drive pick-ups and modern cars, go to internet cafes and shop in shopping centers. The country’s government building is reminiscent of the US Capitol. You can find burger restaurants in many corners. The way of life of the Palau people differs little from that of the Americans, especially in the cities.

But that’s only one side. At the same time, many Palau residents attach great importance to their traditions and their old manners and customs. There are both here.

Children and School

Do the children go to school in Palau?

The school system in Palau is very well developed and follows the American pattern. There are kindergartens, preschools, elementary schools and secondary schools. If the children or young people want to continue their education, however, they have to go elsewhere. Most of them then go to the United States.

The children learn at school how to protect the environment. Species protection is on the schedule. Excursions are also made on this topic, as you can see in the following video.

The children in Palau learn early on how important it is to protect the environment.

Palau Economy