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Responsible Tourism

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

Step ONe.

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.

Step two.

Support the local economy. Shop local, eat at local restaurants, stay at local accommodations as well as local support local organizations.  

Step Three.

Seek out immersive cultural experiences. 

Step four.

If travelling through a company or group, support responsible travel organisations.

Step Five.

Dress respectfully. Adhere to local and culturally appropriate dress codes.

Step Six.

Always ask before taking photos of people or places of cultural or religious significance.

Step seven.

Do not support illegal industries such as the drug trade or sex trade.

Step eight.

If you see something unusual, speak up. Companies such as 'ChildSafe' have a hotline you can contact to report illegal behaviour.

Step Nine.

Do not give gifts to local children such as food or pens; this can encourage and foster begging.

Step Ten.

Be aware of animal attractions. Consider whether the practices are ethical and if it causes harm to the animals involved.

Step Eleven.

Be aware of your carbon footprint. Bring your own reusable bags, water bottles and say no to straws; to prevent and reduce waste.

Step Twelve.

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.

Want to Volunteer  Overseas?

Check out our volunteer checklist!

Examples of Responsible Travel Companies to Pursue


Intrepid Travel

"Our leaders are born and raised in-country, and they know their destination better than anyone. So you’ll do more than just see a place, you’ll live it".


Ayana Journeys

"Handcrafted travel for curious minds. Culturally immersive, responsible travel, in Cambodia, the Kingdom of Wonder".


Where There Be Dragons

"Dragons offers authentic cultural immersion programs in Asia, Africa, and Latin America".

Do Your Research!

The Backpacker Bible: Responsible Travel Guide 

"Backpacker Bible is a continually growing online travel resource providing insightful and responsible travel guides and articles. Know before you go!"

Responsible Travel Guide

"Our travel guides, all written by expert travel writers, are packed with cultural gems of wisdom as well as responsible tourism issues to be aware of before you go to a country or certain region".

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