Updated: Oct 19, 2020
''Responsible travellers want experiences rather than packages, authenticity rather than superficial exoticism and holidays that put a little bit back into local communities and conservation. This is the future of tourism.''
In a context of travel democracy and mass tourism, it is more and more important to do this mental exercise of thinking about the impact we are going to have while travelling. It means being conscious of the environmental and social effects, to decide what kind of journey we want to experience. For too many years, big multinational companies have controlled the tourism flows without caring about the preservation of the territory, its population and identity. We can't go back in time, but we can decide to be responsible travellers and opt for forms of tourism which are beneficial for the local community and its economy, the territory and its development. We can choose to enjoy the time of travelling without the usual rush, it's slow tourism. Maybe, the fact that this situation after the Covid-19 pandemic invites us to travel locally and in our country will be an experiment, it will help us to see what's around us with different eyes.
On a more technical point of view, tourism professionals need to regulate the tourism flows in developed countries within a long term sustainable vision and the help of advanced technology. They have to avoid developing countries to imitate the Western tourism model by promoting Community Based Tourism which is considering tourism as a means of achieving development for the communities.
Responsible travel means many things, but it's not only eco travel, voluntary work abroad or ethical travel. Responsible travel starts when you decide to sleep by locals, to adapt to their culture and habits without imposing yours, to choose less popular destinations and to privilege off-season departures, to avoid wasting food and water, to choose low carbon emissions transport whenever it's possible.
Responsible travel is saying no to activities which include the exploitation of people or animals, it's also a form of respect that you should have for yourself, for the others and for the future generations.
Because responsible travel starts in yourself.
A few easy steps and tips
Respect the local culture
Find local agencies and guides
Gather deeper information about activities that involve animals
Avoid high season
Shop local products
Choose accommodation owned by locals
Don't give money to children*
Engage with the local people
Bring along an open attitude
Share your experience to let the others know
Use public transport when possible
Consider your carbon offsetting
Travel less, but for longer
Remember that you are a visitor
Understand the local manners
*sometimes in developing countries their families oblige
them to be around tourists instead of going to school