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Published on : Friday, December 8, 2017
Tourists arriving in the tiny Pacific island of Palau are compelled to sign a pledge that they would honor the regional environment in an innovative move that authorities hope would check the ecological damage ushered in by the rising numbers of tourists.
It is said to be the ‘Palau Pledge’.
This is stamped onto the passports of visitors and need to be signed upon arrival in this country. The country is located in the western Pacific nearly halfway between Australia and Japan.
It boasts of crystal clear waters, pristine reefs and a good deal of sea life.
In fact the nation is considered as one of the world’s most notable diving hotspots and it was once a niche tourist destination.
But visitor numbers have exploded of late, especially from China, and it has been straining both the infrastructure and the environment. The symbolic pledge had been written with the help of the children of Palau and President Tommy Remengesau mentioned that it was all about conserving the environment for future generations.
Palau had welcomed as much as 150,000 tourists last year marking a rise of 70% on 2010 figures and the nation of 20,000 has struggled to cope.
Some of the new arrivals have led to outrage among the regional people by capturing turtles and also taking selfies with them and even walking on fragile coral and leaving trash on the serene beaches of the nation.