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Palau wins the ITB Earth Award

The Micronesian island country is a pioneer in terms of quality, environmental protection and sustainability in tourism. As of 2020 Palau will be the first tourist destination to ban the sale and use of sunscreen products containing toxic chemicals.

The Micronesian island country is a pioneer in terms of quality, environmental protection and sustainability in tourism. As of 2020 Palau will be the first tourist destination to ban the sale and use of sunscreen products containing toxic chemicals.

The Pacific island paradise of Palau is a pioneer where sustainability and environmental protection are concerned. At this year’s ITB Berlin the island nation was presented with the coveted ITB Earth Award for its exemplary commitment to protecting the environment. In 2009 Palau set an example by creating the world’s first shark sanctuary and in 2015 it pledged to protect large areas of the ocean from overfishing. Since 2017 every tourist has had to sign a so-called ’Palau pledge’, which is stamped into their passport upon arrival, by which they promise to explore the islands and marine world mindfully and respect the people and the country’s environment.

More and more tourists and above all diving enthusiasts are discovering the Micronesian island country. Gleaming white beaches, water the colour of turquoise, emerald green rainforests, majestic volcanoes and a fascinating underwater world full of colourful coral reefs and fish species of all sizes and colours exhibit an intact natural environment. According to President Thomas Remengesau this must be preserved for future generations. A new law that will come into force on 1 January 2020 also aims to protect the seas. As of 2020 the sale and use of sunscreen products containing toxic chemicals capable of bleaching corals will be banned. This is the first initiative worldwide banning chemical pollution in order to prevent the dying off of corals. Once again Palau is pushing new frontiers. On 1 January 2021 the law will also come into force in Hawaii.

Every year an international jury comprising 12 international organisations picks its top 10 from 100 of the world’s most sustainable tourist destinations. These are presented at ITB Berlin.

In 2019 the 10 winners were:

ITB Earth Award: Republic of Palau

Best of Cities: Ljubljana (Slovenia)

Best of Communities & Culture: Gozo (Malta)

Best of Nature: Dutch Quality Coast Delta (Netherlands)

Best of Seaside: Torroella de
Montgrí – L’Estartit (Spain)

Best of Ecotourism: Republic of Guyana

Best of Africa: Chumbe Island (Tanzania)

Best of Asia-Pacific:
Bardia National Park (Nepal)

Best of the Americas: Galapagos National Park (Ecuador)

Best of Europe: Portugal

For more information: www.sustainabletop100.org

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