Visitors, part of the solutions: New bill

  10 Aug 2018

Bill requires tour, vessels, aircraft operators to educate 

tourists on Palau’s environmental policies

President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. introduced a bill to the National Congress that will require business establishments to educate visitors on the environmental policies of Palau.

The bill, also called as the Responsible Tourism Education Act of 2018, cited that tourists in Palau should be “part of the solution” in solving the environmental challenges faced by the country.

In his transmittal letter to the Senate dated August 7, 2018, Remengesau stated that Palau must meet its duty of educating tourists and urges visitors from around the world to help maintain the “pristine paradise.”

“…As more and more people come from all around the world to see our pristine paradise with their own eyes, we cannot relinquish our responsibility for these islands. We must meet our duty, at every opportunity, to educate visitors about how Palau has lasted in this uniquely untouched natural state for so long, and about how we can keep it this way,” Remengesau stated in the letter.

The bill seeks to amend Section 1009 of Chapter 10 of Title 13 of the Palau National Code that official stamp affixed on the passports of visitors shall include “an area for visitors to acknowledge the cultural and environmental protection policies of the Republic.”

A new section is also proposed to be added to the law to stipulate a condition in the entry permit of vessels or aircraft that would require them to assist the country in notifying the passengers about environmental protection, cultural preservation, and other policies through distribution of literature or playing a video, among others.

It also added another section that would require all tour operators to provide reusable alternatives to disposable plastic, polysteryne cups, water bottles and drinking straws when serving their customers.

The bill also prohibits the sale of reef-toxic sunscreen in Palau,

including the carrying of such by any persons travelling to the country beginning January 1, 2020. Reef-toxic sunscreen is identified by the bill as those skin care products that contain oxybenzone (BP3), octylmethoxycinnamate (EHMC), octocrylene (OC), 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor (4MBC), triclosan, methyl paraben, ethyl paraben, butyl paraben, benzyl paraben, or phenoxythanol, or other prohibited chemical ingredients. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)