Pacific Country to Gamify Responsible Tourism

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Palau is the first country in the world to gamify responsible tourism, providing visitors with exclusive experiences depending on how they respect the island’s environment and culture vs how much they spend.

The Republic of Palau, located in the northwestern Pacific, has launched Ol’au Palau, a new model of responsible tourism aimed at changing how people engage with the country’s pristine environment and local culture. Pre-Covid 19, tourism comprised 85% of Palau’s GDP, but when international travel collapsed in 2020, the country was hit hard by the pandemic with no visitors traveling to the island nation for nearly two years.

Ol’au Palau aims to help the country bounce back from the pandemic and rebuild its tourism sector sustainably, by rewarding visitors for measurably protecting and preserving Palau during their stay. Over three quarters of consumers (77 percent) admitted that Covid-19 made them more conscious of how destructive their conduct can be to the environment, with 72 percent wishing to travel to sustainable holiday areas, according to new worldwide market research.

“Ol’au” is a means of reaching out to a friend in the Palauan language to invite them into your place. This notion serves as the foundation for a new effort that offers a new sort of tourism value exchange in which visitors can earn points for displaying ethical and regenerative conduct while on vacation. In exchange, users can spend those points to gain access to Palau’s unique experiences. Visitors who do not engage or do not earn enough points throughout their stay will not be able to participate in these activities.

More than 90% of U.S. travelers questioned desire to learn about a destination’s natural environment and culture, as well as how to maintain and safeguard it, according to the new study. Furthermore, 87% stated they would pay more for a vacation in a destination with a pristine, preserved environment and culture. Furthermore, 89 percent of people said they would be more interested in visiting a country with this type of rewards program because participating would make them feel good about their vacation; and 85 percent said this idea would make them more likely to engage in positive behavior when visiting a country.

Visitors to Palau will soon be able to earn points in the Ol’au Palau app by doing things like using Palau’s world-first personal carbon calculator, using reef-safe sunscreen, patronizing 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, and co-creating with local artists.

source  Palau Legacy Foundation

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