Celebrity billionaire Richard Branson signs Palau pledge

Virgin Group founder and celebrity billionaire Richard Branson, right, holds up the Palau pledge. (Photo from the Office of the President, Republic of Palau FB)

Virgin Group founder and celebrity billionaire Richard Branson has signed the Palau pledge — a commitment to protect the island’s natural resources and to promote responsible tourism.

Branson signed the pledge in the Necker Islands at the British Virgin Islands, according to information posted by the Office of the President of Palau.

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The celebrity billionaire signed the commitment alongside Vincent Wheatley, the Minister of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration of the British Virgin Islands. Debbie Remengesau, the First Lady of Palau, witnessed the signing of the pledge.

Both Remengesau and Branson are attending the  Ultramarine Ocean Action Summit. The first lady is attending the summit on behalf of the Pacific island nation.

Palau is the first nation to change its immigration laws for the cause of environmental protection, according to the Palau Pledge page. Visitors to Palau must sign a passport pledge to act in an ecologically responsible way while staying on the island.

The Palau pledge comes with a sustainable tourism checklist which every visitor must follow. The checklist includes a commitment not to collect marine life as souvenirs; avoid touching and stepping on corals; support local businesses and communities, and; respect the local culture.

Those who violate the pledge risk paying a fine.