The ocean is an essential element to our everyday lives and to combat climate change today would require much more effort in ocean conservation and resiliency. The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Youth webinar held on Tuesday, January 31st welcomed three guest speakers in the tourism sector Dmitri Cooray, Deputy Managing Director of Jetwing Hotels, Susanne Etti, Global Environmental Impact Manager from Intrepid Travel and Janine Tewid, Marketing Representative, Palau Visitors Authority. The webinar had an international audience of over 200 youth.
The webinar speakers touched on the impact of the tourism industry on the maritime environment and how we all are working to mitigate them. The speakers will also share how the industry can contribute to ocean conservation from a tourist perspective. Ms. Janine Tewid highlighted some of Palau’s works in the ocean conservation space such as clam planting, turtle releasing and beach & coastal cleanups. She also shares how Palau Visitors Authority contributes to knowledge sharing regarding responsible practices. For instance, social media challenges and activities which spark environmental consciousness and sharing information on how wearing reef-safe sunscreen can reduce one of the stressors on our reefs and ocean. Furthermore, she highlights the organization’s no plastic initiative. With PVA involved in assessing Palau’s current and potential attractions, the organization hopes to encourage state governments and community members when developing tours to demonstrate the same no-plastic spirit and other sustainable tourism practices.
Apart from PVA, Ms. Tewid speaks on the policies set forth in the tourism industry and how the rest of the world can do the same. For example, tour operators are required to provide their customers with a reusable alternative to disposable plastic or polystyrene cups, water bottles, and drinking straws as well as to provide their customers with a reusable alternative to disposable plastic or polystyrene food containers. She also shares during the webinar, the Our Ocean Conference we hosted in 2022. As a youth herself, she proudly highlighted one of the unique components of the conference and that was the integration of the youth delegation in the plenary and as panelists. In addition, this portion of the conference was also managed by Palauan youth.
Education plays an imperative role in sustaining and preserving our environment. This webinar allowed for PVA to underscore Palau’s initiatives and practices particular to ocean conservation. #PATAWebinar #SustainableTravel #SDG14

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