Ecotourism is on the rise but ethical tourism often gets ignored. Think about impact of your holiday on the local community, the environment or even bigger issues like global warming.
Travel is an irreplaceable factor of self education. We learn about the legitimate differences between people and cultures. Responsible tourism is about being responsible for your choice of destination, your mode of transportation, your responses with any economic, political or cultural experiences you might have whilst on holiday, and the impact you have on the environment.
It is extremely important that tourists following the country's customs and help local people while globetrotting, being more eco-friendly, and finding new ways to travel respectfully. Make a positive impact for the future generations with these tips:
1. Have utmost consideration for human rights.
The correlation between tourism and exploitation might not be obvious. Children make up a considerable portion of the international tourism industry's work force which allows travelers and tourists to sexually abuse children with anonymity. Child sex tourism is a growing practice minors are abused by tourists and travelers in exchange for some form of compensation. Exploitation in any form such as sexual exploitation of children is a crime punishable in the destination or at the tourist's home country. Access to children can be found in voluntourism, orphanage tourism and mega-events.
You can also find ways to offer support to the tourism industry to prevent the sexual exploitation of children. One way is through raise awareness within your social circle.
2. Choose to do things that make a difference.
You can have the best of both worlds: you can have a fun and local experience while you travel and you can give back and do something to benefit the communities you visit. One easy way to connect these two is social enterprise in travel. Social enterprises resemble NGOs (non-governmental organisations) but they have a market-driven approach and make money to reinvest their profits back into the community.
Choose experiences that have a positive social and environmental impact through booking a tour or experience with a social enterprise. You can also buy functional art made from used tea bags at Original T-Bag Designs in Hout Bay or learn about Cape Town's incredible biodiversity in the beautiful Kirstenbosch Gardens. In southern India, The Blue Yonder has created a Musical Trail for travellers and musicians and artisans in villages to perform together.
3. Help the environment.
Try walking to the beach instead of taking the bus. Not only will it help the environment but also your sun tan. Also, green tourism simply means that you use environmentally-friendly modes of transport.
4. Be conscious of your surroundings.
Be conscious of your surroundings, particularly local customs. See what locals do first if you are not sure of what you are doing, or simply ask them what to do.
Upon being aware, show empathy. Make sure to respect the residents' privacy in homes when taking photos.
Aside from enjoying your trip, travel responsibly. The world will give back.