What is alternative tourism: Why Is It Important? Types and Examples

These days, the travel industry has turned upside down. In this perspective we are going to exploere what is alternvative.
According to the newest edition of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, the number of international tourism has increased by 58% compared to 2020, but it is still 64% behind the 2019 level.
Since tourism has just opened, people tired of stressful months are happy to use their opportunities to take their vacation as excitingly and profitably as possible. Ordinary tourism is no longer interesting, people need something new. In this article, you will learn about the new breed of tourism called  “Alternative Tourism”. We will review types and examples of Alternative Tourism, and at the end of the article, you will be able to plan the best trip according to your wishes and interests. We’re positive you’ll find them as inspiring as we do!

What is Alternative Tourism?

Alternative tourism combines many types of tourism. Special attention is paid to economic, cultural, social, and environmental considerations. Alternative tourism aims to have a positive impact on its destinations.
It is understood differently by many people because the term means quite a lot. Alternative tourism is not just a trip with one specific priority and a prewritten day plan. Alternative tourism should be characterized as a journey where people are more involved in life there, physically and psychologically.
Although ordinary travel is great and increases learning and understanding in its own way, we wanted to convey the various ethics of alternative travel, so you could better plan your own perfect vacation.

Types of Alternative Tourism

Alternative tourism is a very broad concept and it would be wrong to discuss it in one context, so let’s discuss several types:

Sustainable or responsible tourism encompasses all components of development (socio-cultural, economic, and environmental) to ensure maximum respect for local people and natural resources.

  • Solidarity or Fair Tourism

Solidarity tourism is focused on the economic and social development of the place.
Proceeds from tourism are distributed to local businesses and investments are made in organizations and infrastructure.

  • Ecotourism

Ecotourism is focused on the environment, making a positive impact on it, and raising public awareness in this regard. Ecotourism often includes educational activities.

  • Geotourism

“Tourism that sustains or enhances the distinctive geographical character of a place – its environment, heritage, aesthetics, culture, and the well-being of its residents.” – National Geographic.
There are so many types of alternative tourism, so you can choose a specific type according to your interests.

Examples of Alternative Tourism

A clear example of alternative tourism is “VSO“. Instead of sending aid, they help the locals with volunteer work and find partners to give the citizens of the world’s poorest countries the opportunity to develop and strengthen. Right now, VSO is bringing justice to rape survivors in Pakistan, building disaster prevention mechanisms in Mozambique, ending stigma against disabled children in Ethiopia, and tackling the youth skills gap in Uganda and Bangladesh.
“More than three-quarters of Ugandans are under 30: this huge youth population has the potential to lift the country out of poverty, but only if high levels of unemployment can be reduced. VSO volunteers are stepping up to help, and changing lives in the process.” So, volunteers come to poor countries or cities and help the locals with medical services, educational activities, economics, etc.
Another example is International work camps. An international work camp is a group of international volunteers from different countries who work together around a community project aimed to help a local community with a project for generally 2 to 4 weeks. The main purpose of the camp is educational, it hosts local organizations such as peace and environmental organizations. It is open for any motivated person, who is from 14 to 30 years old.  So many organizations are offering work camps, costs and conditions are different.

Benefits of Alternative Tourism

Why should you choose alternative tourism?

  • It will give you the opportunity to see more closely the real picture of the local area.

What you will learn from this experience will be the truth about their culture and environment, from the people who live there. You will not be fed with information written only suitable for tourists, but you will get a vision of local life and learn to love the community as it is.

  • It helps the local people. 

It offers opportunities to people of all walks of life, supporting vulnerable groups, including minorities, youth, and women, among others.

  • It’s eco-friendly

The things you eat while on vacation have a huge impact on your ecological footprint. One of the parts of sustainable tourism is eating local food, which you can buy from local businesses. It is not only that you will not harm the environment, but you will also feel the taste of the local culture!

  • It’s animal-friendly

Animals are often used to attract tourists, which causes great harm to wildlife. For example, riding elephants in Nepal, or  Tiger Temple in Thailand, These animals suffer from pain and early deaths, and all of this is done so that tourists can have a photo opportunity.
Bottom Line
If you want to get close to wildlife, there are many volunteer projects that work on this. If you add a volunteering period to your vacation, you can be a sustainable tourist and support important projects through your work while having these amazing experiences. We hope the article helps you by choosing responsibly when booking your next trip in a wild life cottage or in a luxury green hotel.

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