Responsible travel, otherwise known as 'sustainable tourism', is the term referred to tourists travelling to another destination and making a conscious effort to make a positive impact on the local environment, society, and economy. These efforts often involve local transportation, accommodation, entertainment, recreation, food, and shopping.
Tips for Responsible Travel
Do your research on the cultural, political and historical background of the destination you are visiting.
Understand and respect the values of the destination you are visiting. Be mindful.
Support the local economy. Shop local, eat at local restaurants, stay at local accommodations as well as local support local organizations.
Seek out immersive cultural experiences.
If travelling through a company or group, support responsible travel organisations.
Dress respectfully. Adhere to local and culturally appropriate dress codes.
Always ask before taking photos of people or places of cultural or religious significance.
Do not support illegal industries such as the drug trade or sex trade.
Do not give gifts to local children such as food or pens; this can encourage and foster begging.
Be aware of animal attractions. Consider whether the practices are ethical and if it causes harm to the animals involved.
Be aware of your carbon footprint. Bring your own reusable bags, water bottles and say no to straws; to prevent and reduce waste.
Remember that you are a visitor!
Examples of Irresponsible Travel
Cruise Ship Tourism is a perfect example of irresponsible travel.
Often the destination of cruise ship itineraries involves small island nations of which a majority are experiencing underdevelopment.
Whilst tourism may be a major income for these small communities, the volume to which tourists come and go, is not sustainable or beneficial.
Cruise ships bring people in the masses to these small islands, and with masses, come demands. With demands, come the loss of culture but also overconsumption, commercialization, and disregard to the people living within these communities.
Tourists leave just as fast as they come to these islands, leaving their environmental footprint behind, as well as other significant development impacts.
People cannot fully immerse themselves into a culture in the small amount of time that a cruise itinerary allows. With a lack of awareness and understanding, brings along many other detrimental issues and impacts to these vulnerable communities.
Irresponsible tourism within tour companies and large groups can also be seen through companies such as 'Contiki' and 'Top Deck'.
In addition to this, volunteer travel companies such as 'International Volunteer Headquarters' (IVHQ) and 'Plan my Gap Year' have significant detriments to the communities they work within. For more information click the link below.
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