Ecotourism,  Oceania

Sustainable Initiatives in one of
the Most Popular Green Destinations – Palau!

Did you know Palau is referred to as one of the 7 Underwater Wonders of the World? The island nation in Pacific Ocean, also called Micronesia, is one of the best diving locations and green destinations in the world and well-known for its sustainable initiatives. 

It houses numerous fishing populations that would be otherwise extinct. It is teeming with biodiversity, abundant marine life, native forests, and healthy island vegetation, which is why it draws a keen interest from environmentalists in the Pacific Ocean.

Sustainable Initiatives in Palau

For Palau, tourism is a critical source of revenue. In order to maintain their lives and condition of nature, they are establishing a variety of sustainable initiatives. 

Palau Pledge

Palau Island is taking sustainable initiatives a step further by making tourists sign a passport pledge upon entry. You are only issued an entry visa if you sign the pledge – it was in the year 2017, when the pledge was first drafted, and Palau became the first country to do so. Tourists need to abide by certain rules in order to act in an ecologically and culturally responsible way while they are on the island. Interestingly, this pledge has been drafted by children from all over Palau. It is also a request to tourists that they should support Palau Pledge certified businesses. This is to ensure the future generations of Palau can thrive and live in a safe environment.

Creation of Shark Sanctuary

Oceanic sharks are at the risk of becoming extinct. That is why commercial shark fishing is banned in a certain area. Palau aims to promote long-term sustainability by creating a marine reserve that supports the local economy. It has created a massive shark sanctuary that is sprawled over 600,000 square kilometers. This marine habitat is a conscious effort to raise awareness of the fact that the community has chosen to protect sharks rather than hunting them. . It created world’s sixth-largest marine sanctuary in 2015, which protects almost 80% of its marine life, so no fishing is allowed. Activities like drilling for oil are banned as well.

Ban on Toxic Sunscreen

Reefs face a great danger from toxic chemicals in sunscreen, such as oxybenzone. That is why the sale and use of any sunscreen that is deemed “reef toxic” is restricted from the year 2020, as it leads to coral bleaching. This initiative is unique and the first as a country in the world, in order to fight against chemical pollution that kills corals.

Ecotours in Palau

It is necessary for travelers to respect conservation efforts in Palau. Travelers who visit the islands can relax on beautiful palm-lined beaches and even indulge in snorkeling and hiking, but they have to adhere to green travel ideals and ecotourism guidelines while visiting. The Palau Conservation Society and Palau Project are working hard to maintain ecotourism and spread awareness regarding that aspect.  In Palau, it is prohibited for tour operators to use non-reusable plastic or form products. 

A very common activity in this green destination is visiting Jellyfish Lake, a lake in the Rock Islands that had thousands of stingless jellyfish. The jellyfish population was in danger for a while, so this lake was closed down for some years till the numbers began to increase.  

On the island of Babeldaob, they are enhancing Community based Eco-Tours (BCET) to realize sustainable communities by balancing financial benefit to community and conservation of nature and culture. They offer to design your own tour, including homestay experience with local families if you like.

When you go snorkeling or diving, you immediately see clean waters void of debris and the beaches are free from trash.  Moreover, in Palau, you get to enjoy lip smacking local cuisine with ethically sourced ingredients. Why don’t you visit Palau, a gem of green destination?

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