To enter the Republic of Palau, signal right here.
On Dec. 7, the Pacific island vacation spot unveiled a brand new pledge for all incoming guests and have become the primary nation to include environmental practices into its immigration legal guidelines. Earlier than visitors obtain the stamp of their passport, which they have to signal earlier than an officer, they are going to watch an in-flight video impressed by a Palauan legend. Within the movie, a large lands on the archipelago and inadvertently stomps on its pure sources. Realizing the injury he has wrought, he pursues a extra sustainable, gentle-giant strategy, thereby serving to protect the islands’ pure magnificence for future generations.
The takeaway lesson for vacationers: Tiptoe on these massive toes of yours.
“Vacationers don’t understand the adverse affect they’re having,” stated Laura Clarke, one of many 4 co-founders of the Palau Legacy Challenge. “If one thing is not accomplished, it’s clear that vacationers collectively may trigger critical injury and devastation to Palau’s fragile ecosystems.”
The settlement, which is devoted to the kids of Palau, opens with this promise: “I take this pledge as your visitor, to protect and shield your lovely and distinctive island house.” The assertion urges guests to observe such environmentally sound practices as “tread evenly, act kindly and discover mindfully.” It additionally warns them to not take or hurt any valuable objects. It closes with a poetic flourish: “The one footprints I shall go away are these that can wash away.”
The Palau Legacy Challenge created the pledge to deal with a rising concern over vacationers’ careless behaviors, resembling littering, corrupting coral and disturbing protected species. The nation can take authorized motion in opposition to guests who break the circumstances of the doc, together with issuing fines of as much as $1 million. Indicators on the airport and across the islands remind visitors of their tasks. Among the many don’ts: feeding the fish and sharks, and snatching fruit or flowers from gardens.
Palau, one of many world’s smallest nations, helps a inhabitants of 20,000 individuals and 160,000 annual guests. Tourism has surged over the previous three years, which has startled islanders – and in addition motivated them to behave.
“The pledge hopes to boost consciousness of how we’re all interconnected,” Clarke stated, “and the way selections made exterior Palau affect the nation as a lot as guests do.”
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