Responsible tourism has emerged from a need to conserve natural and cultural heritage in order to maintain the world's diversity.It's aim is to:
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOU?
An all time favourite mantra of travelers is:
This is a good start, but to really understand a culture and its people you will need to dig deeper than this. Do not be afraid to exchange ideas and learn from the local communities. You should be willing to throw yourself fully into the culture, and if you do, you'll find that you get a lot more out of your travel adventure. One quick note – please remember that some people are highly superstitious about being photographed – you should always ask if you would like to take a photo of indigenous people.
We must remember that we are not just travellers, but ambassadors of our country. We may talk about responsible tourism, but what we’re really talking about is good, old-fashioned manners. Isn’t it polite to learn a little bit about your host country and to be sensitive to their traditions? Responsible tourism promotes a respectful relationship between tourists and host communities and through this, a more meaningful, interactive travel experience.
More importantly though, have you chosen an organisation that acts responsibly to the environment and the people you will encounter? Have they combined forces with local organisations and the local communities or are they running the show alone? Can they prove to you that they are minimizing the damage to the environment? How are they benefiting the local community? Having fun is important while you are abroad, but this must apply to all parties involved.
Unfortunately having a responsible tourism policy is not necessarily enough. Often this is actually just a superficial show of responsibility to the environment and culture. These organisations should be able to prove to you how this is reflected in practice.
If you take all this information on board when deciding on an organisation to travel with, it should provide both you and your host community with a more enjoyable, immersive experience and mutual respect for each other.Are you ready to be part of the responsible travel revolution?