Among each of us lies a spirit of adventure. This spirit made our ancestors move across distant lands, water bodies, mountains, and dry lands in the hope of discovering what is present away from home. Demarcation inform of political borders might have slowed free movement, but the spirit of adventure is still rife in us. This fact has made the Tourism industry one of the biggest in the world today.
How Well Do You Carry Yourself During Holidays?
Unless you are a solo traveller chances are that you sit back, relax and let the tour organizer be in charge of your tour retinue. In search of quick profits, most tour operators use unethical tourism methods. Unethical tourism methods refer to those practices that have negative consequence on the environment, the local people, and tourist attractions. Simply, this means that if you are an unethical tourist, the more you visit a place, the worse it becomes. If this trend goes on unchecked, it can result in total degradation of the site and future generations will be deprived of such attractions.
It is estimated that 30% of some landscapes (most in the developing countries) has been lost due to irresponsible tourism. Population increase only means that there are more people willing to travel, which in turn leads to more pressure to the few attractions.
To curtail this irreversible trend, there have been calls for all stakeholders in the tourism sector to embrace ethical tourism (including you). But, where does that start from? You might ask.
Embracing ethical tourism is not rocket science. It only requires change of behaviour. Something that can be done through self-control, and being proactive whenever you want to go on holiday or you are on holiday.
What Ethical Tourism Entails
According to the 2002 Cape Town resolution on responsible and ethical tourism, it is tourism that meets the following requirements:
There is minimum impact on the environment, generate economic benefits to the locals, improvement of working condition of workers, leads to a positive contribution to the environment, cultural sensitivity is observed, and there is an integration with the local ecosystem.
However, it is imperative to note that ethical tourism is NOT a tourism niche, or something that should be observed in protected places only.
When Selecting a Tour Operator
When selecting a tour operator, try to know if they give back anything to the local community. Also, try to know if they have employed any locals. The tour operators should not have a history of misusing the locals. Locals are more welcoming to tourists from tour companies who have a good rapport with the locals.
On Air Travel
Even the staunchest supporters agree that it is almost impossible to fly ethically. However, unless you are flying to distant places like from London to Sydney, always use other travel means like trains.
Whenever you are on holiday, try to make friends with the locals, spend locally, try learning their languages, do not litter, bargain at a fair price, visit their local churches, mosques, synagogues, or temples, tell them your stories (if you can communicate), and give them memorabilia, if any. This way, they feel part of the tourism industry.
*Image of traveler walking along the road to the mountains via Shutterstock