KOROR, Palau -- A decade ago, Palau's Rock Islands were a haven for travelers seeking solitude. The handful who made the trek would bond with nature in the lagoons and diving spots teeming with rare fish. Then Chinese tourists started visiting the limestone islets by the hundreds.
"The experience was diluted," said Ngiraibelas Tmetuchl, chairman of the Palau Visitors Authority. "You were paying a lot of money for exclusivity, but now you're experiencing it with a lot of people."