Are you a traveller with a conscience?

How to be a more responsible tourist

Travellers and tourists are more aware that sustainable travel is key for us to maintain the status quo when travelling.

Most of us understand that the ecology of countries has been adversely affected by mass tourism in the past 20 years and some areas are just not able to sustain tourism on this level.

While many people have benefited from the increase in global tourism many local people have seen little of these benefits and so the travel industry as a whole have embraced ways to ensure that we’re more aware of the ways in which we can help.

Phrases like ‘fair tourism’, ‘solidarity tourism’ and ‘sustainable tourism’ are now used frequently but do we really understand what they mean to us, the traveller?

Here are the meanings of a few that we know:

Fair Tourism – derived from the term ‘fair trade’. Meaning that this particular tour or destination supports local efforts and encourages local people to benefit from the tourism instead of the large companies.  It ensures that middlemen don’t scoop up the profit. This working together with local people to provide accommodation, tours and eateries is on the increase and will be one of the things to watch out for if you want a more ‘authentic’ experience.

Solidarity Tourism

This is where you, the tourist, show solidarity with the locals in tourism by spending your money there and being involved when you are there.  The money you spend in an area will be used to enrich the community  eg: helping to build a school.

Responsible Tourism

We hear this phrase bandied about quite often lately but what does it mean?

It’s not about you being responsible while you’re travelling but more about the local population being responsible for deciding on the action they need to take to avert negative ecological impact of tourism eg: should they allow a new attraction on a pristine beach?

Sustainable Tourism

This is where you, the person on the move, can take responsibility.  It’s about respecting the ecology and local people in the area you are visiting.

What you do has  impact on the ecology every day – even using a car, supporting attractions and other places that create pollution or harm to the environment eg:  frequenting a funfair on the coast, encouraging boats to go too close to marine life just to get a good picture.

If you are interested in finding out more about being a more responsible traveller here are some websites for you to explore.

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