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By John A. Concepcion

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, Mar. 18) — The Palau Visitors Authority and the Division of Fish and Wildlife Protection have joined forces in this year’s Welcome All Visitors Enthusiastically, or WAVE, program to educate the public on the tourism industry and promote environmental conservation.

PVA and DFWP officials, including Fish and Wildlife chief Kammen Chin, have been visiting elementary schools in several states for the past weeks to promote the WAVE program. The group has so far visited Kayangel, Ngarchelong, Peleliu and Angaur.

Marine Environmental Enforcement Response Team coordinator Sebastian Marino, who is with the group, said their efforts "demonstrate the link between the conservation of our environment and the continued flow of tourists here."

He said the flourishing tourism industry in Palau is due to its beauty and unique environmental biodiversity that can only be maintained through conservation.

WAVE is an annual PVA initiative to raise public awareness about the tourism industry and the need to be hospitable and friendly to all visitors.

PVA said this week, the WAVE team will visit the students of Ngiwal, Ngchesar, Melekeok, Koror and Airai.

Mary Ann Delemel, managing director of PVA, said "no matter how beautiful our islands are, or how pristine our waters, if our people are not hospitable, visitors will not want to come to Palau and will, instead, spread negative feedback about us."

The WAVE team presentation includes a beautiful rendition of the WAVE anthem written by Roland Tangelbad.

A new addition to the WAVE program is a puppet show about four friends in Los Angeles who have become tired of the pollution in their city.

One of the puppets will mention Palau as an interesting and beautiful place to visit. Unfortunately, their stay in Palau will be less than perfect after they see unfriendly people who spit everywhere. "Next time, let’s go somewhere else," the puppets will say.

After the puppet show, the WAVE team will ask students to help make visitors feel welcome in Palau.

"Please don’t spit on the road or throw your trash on the ground. We must all play our part because this is your future we’re working for," the WAVE team will tell students.

March 18, 2004

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