Welcome to my humble abode
In the Palauan language, “Ol'au” is a way of calling out to a friend to
invite them into your space. This word forms the principle of the Ol'au
Palau initiative which grants travellers, who actively contribute to
conserving Palau’s environment and culture, the ability to explore the
locals’ way of life and be part of the community.
The global movement to drive sustainable tourism has seen many countries
putting the onus on its hospitality and tourism players to go green.
However in a recent turn of events, one country is putting responsible
travel into the hands of its tourists instead.
is the first country in the world to unveil this innovative new form of
responsible tourism aimed at changing the way tourists interact with
the environment and local culture.
Dubbed Ol'au Palau, this sustainable tourism model incentivises
travellers to put eco-friendly practices into play. When a traveller
performs a recommended eco-friendly activity, they will get rewarded
with points that they can use to redeem exclusive travel experiences
that are not available to the mass market.
Points can be collected via the Ol'au Palau app when travellers do things including but not limited to:
• Offsetting their carbon footprint using Palau's world-first personal carbon calculator
• Using reef-safe sunscreen
• Patronising businesses that are reducing their impact on the environment and culture
• Visiting culturally-significant tourism sites
• Eating sustainably-sourced local food, participating in regenerative tourism projects
• Avoiding single-use plastics
• Correctly answering a quiz about Palau's biodiversity and culture
Clocking up the points by actively engaging in these sustainable
travel practices can then unlock cultural experiences that are normally
reserved for Palauans and close friends such as:
• Accessing pristine parts of the island that have previously only been accessible to the local community
• Meeting elders and touring historic sites
• Going on stunning hikes that are off the beaten track
• Visiting villages for taro patch tours and lunch with the community
• Taking part in traditional fishing at secret spots
• Swimming at spectacular hidden caves
• Other highly tailored tours open only for Ol'au Palau guests
Ol'au Palau was launched by Palau's tourism sector in response to new
global market research that revealed over 77% of people admitted that
Covid-19 made them more aware of how damaging their behaviour can be to
the environment, with 72% desiring to travel to sustainable holiday
destinations. The country hopes that the new programme will become a
model for other countries and destinations to follow.
"By launching Ol'au Palau we get to reward our most conscientious
guests and protect our most highly-prized tourism asset: our pristine
environment and unique culture,” said Alan T. Marbou, board member of
Palau Visitors Authority. “We hope that Ol'au Palau will make more
destinations think about the true cost of tourism and rethink who they
reward with their best experiences.”