Pay in Kindness – Ol’au Palau Initiative

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The Palau Legacy Project has launched a new campaign to educate people and bring awareness on how to respect the country’s environment and local culture.

The Ol’au Palau is the first tourism initiative that creates a space where new experiences and places can only be accessed through sustainable action – not the size of your wallet. More of its natural and cultural wonders are unlocked for visitors according to how gently and respectfully they tread on the breath taking island.

The campaign was created by Host/Havas, and it works on a point-system on the Ol’au Palau app. Points are awarded for mindful actions such as offsetting the carbon footprint using a personal carbon calculator, making use of reef-safe sunscreen, and consistently supporting businesses that are reducing their impact on the environment.

Points will also be awarded on a cultural level to tourists who visit certain culturally-significant tourism sites, who eat sustainable, locally-sourced food, participate in community regenerative tourism projects, and avoid single-use plastics.

Once they accumulate enough points, people can exchange these points to access certain parts of the island, meet local elders and tour historic sites, take part in hikes that are off the beaten track, visit villages and have lunch with the community, participate in traditional fishing, and swim in hidden caves.

The campaign was created after research found that 90% of people want to experience a destination’s natural environment and culture and learn how to preserve and protect it during their stay. In addition, 87% of people said that they would spend more for holiday in a destination that had a pristine, protected environment and culture.

89% of people also said would be more interested in visiting a country with this type of rewards program, and that participating would make them feel good about their holiday. In addition, 85% said this idea would make them more likely to engage in positive behavior when they visit a country.

The Palau Legacy Project previously created a pledge that visitors need to sign with the visa stamp on their passports. The stamp, which outlines a promise to help Palau protect its environment, acts as an agreement on entering the small country.

Watch the video below and let us know your thoughts – should more tourist destinations have their own app and point system?

WRITTEN BY:

Andi Hicks