EnvironmentUnited States of America
Over tourism and the climate crisis: are tourism pledges the answer?
Many countries have introduced tourism pledges in order to protect their fragile environments, but do they actually work? Do we need a list of pledges in order to live and travel in a responsible and sustainable way? It seems these countries think we do!
Palau - The Palau Pledge
Palau is the world's 13th smallest nation and tourists outnumber the population by 8 to 1; it's no surprise that over tourism is high up on their list of priorities. When you arrive in Palau the azure waters and tropical climate aren't the only things you'll be greeted with. When you cross the border into Palau, your passport is stamped with a 16 line pledge that you will be asked to sign. This mandatory pledge was launched in December 2017, making Palau the first country that required travellers to acknowledge and commit to responsible tourism practices. The pledge is 'of, for, and by Palau's children,' in order to ensure that tourists preserve their beautiful archipelago for future generations. This pledge is ensuring that the industry that makes up 85% of the nation's GDP is sustainable.
Hawaii, USA - The Pono Pledge
Hawaii's Pono Pledge notes: "Molten lava will mesmerize me, but I will not disrupt its flow." The campaign aims to educate residents and visitors alike as well as encouraging them to be responsible and respectful of the environment. Hawaii is one of the most geographically diverse and breathtaking places on earth, and the people of Hawaii see it as their kuleana (responsibility) to keep it that way. Pono means righteous in Hawaiian, and the campaign's goal was to achieve 10,000 signatures in its first year. The campaign launched in September 2018 and whilst 1,800 people signed the Pono Pledge within the first month of the campaign, more than a year later it has only been signed by almost 4,000 people. Perhaps there's still some work to do.
Aspen, Colorado, USA - The Aspen Pledge
Aspen is calling all visitors to take their pledge in order to help keep it a beautiful and unique destination for years to come. If you're prepared to feed your sense of adventure, but never the wildlife, carve the snow and not the trees and venture into the great unknown while staying on the known trails, you're sure to make the most of your trip to Aspen.
New Zealand - The Tiaki Promise
The Tiaki Promise asks for people who travel to and live in New Zealand to make a commitment to care for the country, for now and for future generations. Unlike many of the other pledges, there isn't a dotted line where you're required to put your signature. However, you can show your support for the initiative by uploading one of their campaign photos to social media and using the hashtag #tiakipromise.