The Sustainability Channel in association withLBB

The Palau Legacy Project Is a Tourism Initiative That Unlocks Experiences and Places through Sustainable Action

Advertising Agency
Sydney, Australia
The Republic of Palau announces Ol’au Palau in collaboration with Host/Havas

In the local Palauan language, “ol’au” is a way of calling out to a friend to invite them into your space. This principle is the basis for the new initiative which creates a different type of tourism value exchange: one where visitors can accumulate points for demonstrating responsible and regenerative behaviour during their stay. In return, visitors can use these points to unlock some of the best and most unique experiences Palau has to offer, which have previously only been accessible to Palauans and close friends. Click here to view the microsite.

Some examples of these experiences include accessing pristine parts of the island, meeting local elders and touring historic sites, stunning hikes that are off the beaten track, visiting villages and having lunch with the community, traditional fishing at secret spots, swimming at spectacular hidden caves and other highly tailored tours only available for Ol’au Palau guests. These experiences won’t be available to visitors who don’t participate or who don’t accumulate enough points during their stay.

Visitors to Palau will soon be able to accumulate points in the Ol’au Palau app by doing things such as offsetting their carbon footprint using Palau’s world-first personal carbon calculator; using reef-safe sunscreen; frequenting businesses that are reducing their impact on the environment and culture; visiting certain culturally significant tourism sites; eating sustainably-sourced local food; participating in community regenerative tourism projects; and avoiding single-use plastics.

Ol’au Palau was launched in Palau to co-incide with the global “Our Oceans Conference” and has already garnered worldwide media interest.

The initiative was launched in response to new global market research that revealed over 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.

The research also showed that 89% of people 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. Additionally, 85% said this idea would make them more likely to engage in positive behaviour when they visit a country.

Says Alan T. Marbou, board member, Palau Visitors Authority and former speaker of the Koror State Government: “Palau’s tourism industry has been hit hard by the pandemic with no visitors entering Palau for almost two years. Despite the economic impact, Palau’s tourism sector is determined to stick to its high-value ecotourism strategy and find a way to bounce back sustainably from the pandemic.

“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. The pandemic has provided our planet with a much-needed wakeup call and an opportunity to see what’s possible when nature has a chance to rebalance itself. 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.”

In 2017, Palau launched the Palau Pledge with Host/Havas: a world-first immigration law that requires all visitors to sign a mandatory environmental pledge to Palau’s children that’s stamped into a visitor’s passport on arrival which became the most awarded campaign in the world in 2018.

Says Jennifer Koskelin-Gibbons, co-founder of the Palau Legacy Project: “Ol’au Palau is the next logical step in Palau’s ecotourism journey. Host/Havas has done an exceptional job of progressing the important work Palau Pledge started. This initiative unites all our ecotourism touchpoints in an inspirational, engaging way for visitors, and enables them to create lasting impact. Importantly, it also allows us to track and measure sustainable actions over time, while rewarding guests who treat our environment and culture with respect. This work has been driven by our private sector in Palau who are serious about ensuring the next generation inherits the pristine environment that we enjoy today.”

Says Jon Austin, executive creative director, Host/Havas: “The Pledge did an incredible job of setting the right intent amongst visitors arriving in Palau. Now, Ol’au Palau takes an important step forward in turning that intent into tangible, positive action. The notion of applying gamification principles to eco-tourism has been incredibly exciting, and it’s been a privilege to work not just with the amazing Palau Legacy Project team, but also with the private sector and Palauan elders to bring this important initiative to life.”

View the Instagram page here.

Agency / Creative
Post Production / VFX
Work from Havas Host
Louie the Flyhunt
It must be Tassal
Tourism Australia