Paradise island that rewards environmentally aware guests

The colour {photograph} exhibits inexperienced islets in a really blue sea.

Regardless of being house to lower than 20,000 inhabitants, the Pacific Ocean republic of Palau is an inspiration to the remainder of the world in the case of defending the planet.

The nation of greater than 300 islands within the western Pacific not solely adopted the world’s first anti-nuclear structure in 1979, but in addition carried out the Palau Pledge in December 2017, which requires worldwide guests to signal a promising stamp of their passport. He informed Palau’s youngsters that they might “stroll with warning” and “defend and defend” the islands.

Now, with the archipelago reopening to tourism after two lengthy pandemics, a brand new program known as Ol’au Palau presents a pioneering initiative on this planet of “gamification” (using sport mechanics and options to impress conduct). accountable tourism the place they may supply vacationers distinctive experiences based mostly on how they deal with the setting and native tradition.

Managed via a cell app, this system presents factors to vacationers who deal with the nation with kindness and respect, make sustainable selections akin to utilizing reef-resistant sunscreen, visiting culturally important websites (just like the Nationwide Museum in Belau and Bai, the oldest in Micronesia) and sustainable Eat domestically sourced meals.

Factors earned are used to unlock experiences reserved for locals solely, akin to occurring a non-public hike, swimming in a hidden cave, sharing meals with villagers and elders, or fishing in a secluded location.

This system additionally guarantees new experiences that aren’t open to abnormal vacationers, such because the first-born ceremony, which is a serious cultural occasion.

Color photo shows water in a cave with forest outside.

hidden collapse Palau

The thought for the Palau Pledge originated in 2015, when tourism reached 150,000 guests a 12 months, greater than 7 occasions the nation’s inhabitants, a lot of whom didn’t perceive the fragility of ecosystems or the significance of sustainability for residents.

The native tradition values ​​hospitality and treats guests with respect, however locals complained that some guests polluted their setting.

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To fight this, Palau wants a method to educate guests, says Laura Clarke, who co-founded the Palau Legacy Venture together with her pal Jennifer Koskelin-Gibbons in 2020.

With Clarke’s expertise in advertising and marketing and promoting and Koskelin-Gibbons’ work in conservation, Ol’au Palau was born. Ol’au means inviting somebody to your home within the native language.

“That is an off-the-cuff method to get the eye of somebody we all know, akin to a pal or member of the family,” explains Koskelin-Gibbons.

“Used to ask somebody to a barbecue, or if we’re at a seashore and also you’re coming by boat, I can name to ask you to affix our household.”

‘Submarine Serengeti’

Palau has been hit onerous by Covid and quarantines as it’s closely depending on tourism.

The nation reopened to totally vaccinated vacationers in April this 12 months. Locals wish to present the world as soon as once more the gorgeous white sand seashores and wildlife-rich dive websites which have earned it the nickname “the undersea Serengeti.”

Color photo shows green fish among red corals

Colour photograph exhibits inexperienced fish amongst purple corals

Palau, II. It was the scene of battles in World Conflict II, so the nation has remnants of Japanese ships and planes that appeal to history-loving divers.

As well as, Palau not too long ago created the world’s first Nationwide Marine Sanctuary, banning all types of extraction (together with business fishing) in 500,000 sq. kilometers of ocean. In consequence, Palau is right for detecting about 135 species of sharks and stingrays.

“This has been a very good 12 months. The corals are blooming and the reefs are stunning,” stated Scott Arni, captain of Palau Offensive II, which has led dive journeys in Palau for 10 years.

“Diving within the German Channel (a channel dug within the Palau Barrier Reef to the southwest) was unbelievable with nice encounters with many sharks and manta rays.”

paradise island

Accountable vacationers could have entry to unique experiences

Ol’au Palau’s rewards could be tailor-made based on the vacationer’s curiosity – whether or not it is diving, mountain climbing or partaking with the area people.

Clarke recommends a 10-14 day journey to get probably the most out of this system, particularly given the time it takes to journey to the distant archipelago 890km east of the Philippines and 1,330km southwest of Guam.

“When you accumulate factors throughout the first 5 days, you’ll have one other 5 or 6 days to redeem them.”

depart no hint

Sustainability is essential to many in Palau, so it is easy to search out native companies that adhere to good environmental practices. Those that keep and eat at these locations earn factors within the Ol’au Palau program.


Palau is legendary for being a tremendous place for diving.

These areas are a part of the Palau Enterprise Dedication program, the place corporations work to attenuate their environmental affect and assist their prospects do the identical.

Consuming fish and native produce is without doubt one of the best methods to maintain this economic system.

Palau’s nationwide soup is known as demok – it is made with taro leaves (an edible plant), coconut water, and crab.

“Not solely is it wholesome, it is extremely scrumptious after a protracted day within the water,” says Koskelin-Gibbons.

To discover your complete island, Clarke recommends 100% native Sam’s Excursions.

They rent native guides for canoeing, mountain climbing, and snorkeling excursions and in addition incorporate sustainable practices into their excursions (like serving native lunches and avoiding single-use plastics) and depart no hint throughout visits.

This report Revealed on BBC JourneyI .Learn the unique article (in English) right here.

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