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Palau Pledge

Nature + Environment + Sustainability

The only footprints I shall leave are those that wash away

To curb ecological damage caused by rising visitor numbers, a bold new visa entry process was created for Palau. Visitors to the Pacific island-country must have an environmental pledge stamped in their passports, which they must sign before an immigration officer. The agreement is a formal promise to act in an environmentally responsible way on the island.

The Republic of Palau, a small archipelago in the West Pacific with less than 20,000 residents, is leading the way in preserving the planet through innovative initiatives. In 2017, it introduced the Palau Pledge, requiring international visitors to promise to "tread lightly" and protect the islands. The Palau Pledge was written with, and by, the children of Palau as a way to protect their environment and their future.

Children of Palau, 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 Palau Pledge is a stunning example and inspiration of ‘small voices’ having a world sized impact, one of the ideas at the heart of Kidwonder and the experiences we create.

Along with the Palau Pledge, a ground-breaking program called Ol'au Palau is now taking responsible tourism to the next level. Ol'au Palau is a unique initiative that "gamifies'' responsible tourism, offering travellers exclusive experiences based on their environmentally friendly and culturally respectful actions, rather than their spending. Managed through a custom app, the program rewards sustainable decisions, such as using reef-safe sunscreen, visiting culturally important sites, and consuming locally sourced food. Points earned can be redeemed for cultural and nature-based experiences that were previously reserved for Palauans and their close friends. This includes unmarked hikes, swimming at secret caves, sharing meals with locals and elders, and participating in important cultural events, like a first birth ceremony. The idea for the Palau Pledge and subsequently Ol'au Palau arose due to the increasing number of visitors (over 150,000 annually) who were unaware of the fragile ecosystem and the importance of sustainability to the local community. With Ol'au Palau, the country aims to educate travellers and grant them the privilege of being trusted friends who respect and care for the environment and culture.

You can follow their wonderful efforts here:

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Small island chain with clear water and blue sky.
Children playing in the surf on the beach in Palau.
Immigration stamp of the Palau Pledge.
Child of Palau.