The Republic of Palau is a breathtakingly beautiful small-island group in the Western Pacific. In the past three years, the country has seen a massive growth in tourist numbers. The rise now means almost 160,000 guests annually enter Palau, which has a comparative population of 20,000. The Palau Legacy Project, a tourism marketing body that works alongside the government to prevent environmental degradation through long-term sustainability projects, recognised that without urgent action, it would get to the point where it was too late to protect some of the most unique parts of the country, which are already very fragile and delicate.
The Palau Pledge
The strategic approach was to ensure that enforcement and encouragement is seen as being everyone’s job. We wanted to promote an active understanding of personal responsibility towards the environment and encourage sustainable actions, setting a strong example for visitors to Palau and locals.
We created a new entry visa process whereby all arriving visitors must now sign a pledge, The Palau Pledge, stamped in their passports, signing them up to be environmental stewards. This mandatory agreement, which is dedicated to the children of Palau, is a formal promise to act in an environmentally responsible way on the island. It is the first such immigration policy in the world and required working with the government, the tourist industry, airlines and citizens. The Pledge was issued in English; Chinese (Simplified); Chinese (Traditional); Japanese; and Korean, and used across a range of communications.