The Republic of Palau is special for many reasons. For years, it was a well-kept secret among locals, but tourists have discovered the region. Visitors enjoy the unique beauty and want to return after they leave to experience it again. Those who have made it their home fear tourists will not realize how to care for the unique scenery and sea life, so the people of Palau have come up with a solution to keep the natural beauty intact and still allow outsiders to come and enjoy the land and waters of Palau.
One of the things that sets it apart is Palau’s attempt to protect nature by a mandatory pledge for tourists. The initiative is called the Palau Legacy Project, and it’s intended to make travelers aware of the fragile ecosystems that make the area so amazing and beautiful.
The Pacific island getaway destination has become the first country to create environmental practices into its immigration laws. If you plan on traveling to Palau, you will have to sign a pledge. If you arrive by air, you will be asked to watch an in-flight video and then sign a pledge in front of an officer to get your passport stamped.
Every visitor to the islands must first agree to take care of the environment they are about to explore and to take care not to litter or disturb valued resources. As a traveler to Palau, you must agree to the promise with your signature:
“I take this pledge as your guest, to preserve and protect your beautiful and unique island home. I vow to tread lightly, act kindly, and explore mindfully. I shall not take what is not given. I shall not harm what does not harm me. The only footprints I shall leave are those that will wash away.”
The idea is a simple one but extremely important in retaining the area for the future. Tourists must embrace the concept of simply respecting the environment they came to see so others will be able to do the same. The promise is to make visitors aware that they are expected to tread with care as they explore and not to remove or harm any of Palau’s natural resources or valued objects of nature. It is also expected that visitors will not litter, collect marine life, feed the sharks or fish, or pick flowers or fruit. Along with the signing of the pledge, visitors will receive a list of activities that are not allowed or risk a fine. If a visitor fails to uphold the pledge, the government of Palau will take legal action which could include fines up to one million dollars.