On January 13, 2018, the Republic of Palau was awarded again by Ethical Traveler as one of the world’s Ten Best Ethical Destinations.   Palau garners this recognition for the 8th time out of 10 years since the inception of the award – more than any other country in the world. Ethical Traveler held its 2018 Ethical Destinations Awards on January 13 at the David Brower Center in Berkeley California announcing Palau, Belize, Benin, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mongolia, St. Kitts & Nevis, Uruguay, and Vanuatu as the winners this year of this prestigious award. [restrict]

Accepting the award on behalf of Palau was Goodwill Ambassador, Andrew Leeka who says “I was swarmed by attendees asking more about Palau, its natural beauty, people, and how to get there. I hope this translates into tourism”

According to Ethical Traveler, Palau made significant gains in Gross National Income, Sustainable Development, and Gender Equality and rose from 62nd to 60th. To protect marine life, the Palau government has created the Palau national Marine Sanctuary setting aside 80 per cent of its maritime territory as a sanctuary and has encouraged locals to turn to aquaculture, such as crab and milkfish farming. Over-tourism and its resulting environmental damage is a growing problem worldwide, and Palau is tackling it with some far-reaching changes. The government aims to promote high-value growth instead of high-volume growth, curbing the number of tourists visiting but increasing the amount they spend during their stay. In addition, visitors must sign the Palau Pledge to act responsibly to protect the island’s natural and cultural heritage.

In 2017, Palau stepped up its efforts to save sharks from extinction and enhance its position as a major marine sanctuary and shark preservation area in the Pacific and for the world. The Palau government is working to control and drastically reduce shark finning in all waters in Palau’s surrounding areas.

Palau saw its Freedom House Political Rights score improve and now enjoys high ranking, along with St. Kitts and Nevis Belize, Chile, Costa Rica, Mongolia, and Uruguay. For small island countries, Palau and Vanuatu, sustainability is at the forefront of their political agenda, but needs see improvements in LGBTQ policy, violence against women, and human trafficking according to Ethical Traveler.

Ethical Traveler is an international alliance uniting adventurers, tourists, travel agencies and outfitters – putting voices together, tocan help safeguard the environment and support human rights. See more at www.ethicaltraveler.org [/restrict]