What is Responsible tourism?
Hey, what the heck is responsible tourism?
So the way that I was traveling so far make me an irresponsible traveler? No not at all but we need to understand the importance of our actions and the footprint that we leave while traveling around the world.
The end goal is to have fun while learning about the place, the people, and their culture and have a general understanding of what helped it to become the place that it is today through time.
Definition of sustainable tourism
Let’s try to define responsible tourism:
Responsible tourism means to travel in favor of nature and local communities and minimize your footprint wherever you can. Let visiting a place become an act of preserving it letting every place and community benefit from it without becoming a reason for alienation.
Keywords to succeed on it: awareness, respect, action
Responsible tourism is also about showing respect. Respect for the people, local community, culture, wildlife, structures, and the environment of the places you’re visiting.
Wanto to learn more about the topic? Continue reading with “What is eco-tourism and why you should care“
Sustainable Tourism Practices
The Need of the Hour!
Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic halted tourism activities around the world. In this regard, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reported a global economic loss of over $4 trillion. This statistic tells us a lot about tourism’s impact on the world’s economy.
And while it is the primary source of revenue for many countries, excessive tourism is causing serious harm to them. In this post, we will discuss the shortcomings of the current tourism model and discuss an alternate solution – sustainable tourism.
Negative Effects of Tourism
Before we move to the solutions, let’s have a look at why tourism is harmful to our environment:
Tourism contributes to over 5% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, considering the rapid expansion of this industry, things are likely to get worse if proper measures are not taken.
- Improper Resource Distribution
The rise of tourism has put greater pressure on local resources in many parts of the world. As a result, there is an unsettling imbalance in resource distribution, leading to depletion and scarcity.
- Cultural Conflicts
While most tourists tend to respect the culture of the place they’re visiting, some may pay no heed to certain customs or traditions of the host country, in turn offending the locals. These cultural conflicts can fuel the existing issues of rampant tourism and trigger acts of aggression, racism, and discrimination.
- Tourist Hunting
Many poachers disguised as tourists visit countries with rare wildlife and pay heavy bribes to hunt endangered animals. While many countries have strict laws against such activities, financially weak countries allow the practice in exchange for money.
Areas with high tourism traffic are a lot more expensive. So, while foreigners can afford goods at unusually high prices, it may not be affordable for locals.
Countries should implement sustainable policies and practices to counter the cons of tourism. Therefore, the concept of sustainable tourism has arisen in recent years. However, you must be wondering what sustainable tourism is and how will it benefit the world? Read on, for we have covered all the details on sustainable tourism, its importance, and how it works.
Why is Sustainable Tourism Important?
You must not confuse sustainable tourism with environmental tourism or green tourism. Unlike green tourism, where environmentally healthy practices are limited to natural areas, sustainable tourism encompasses all kinds of travelling. If you want to look at examples, check out the recent tourism culture in countries like Sweden, Latvia, Austria, etc.
In short, sustainable tourism aims to carry out activities without negatively affecting nature or local culture. Apart from being beneficial for the environment, sustainable tourism will also promote harmony between locals and tourists. It takes full responsibility for its future/current cultural, economic, environmental and social impacts.
How Does Sustainable Tourism Work?
Now that we have established its importance, the next question is how to achieve sustainable tourism?
According to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), there are three main objectives every sustainable tourism project has to achieve:
- Conservation of Environment
It’s important to ensure sustainable tourism practices in hotels and other tourism-related businesses for environment conservation. Tourists should avoid unethical activities like littering, hunting, deforestation, causing noise pollution, and wasting local resources. Tourism industries are also required to provide efficient energy and water solutions.
- Respect Local Communities
Tourists should respect and behave conforming to the local culture. In return, host communities should make their visitors feel safe and comfortable. As a result, both parties cooperate in developing a beautiful and diverse social environment.
- Benefiting Others Socioeconomically
Tourism involves a lot of stakeholders, including hotels, restaurants, local shops etc. But, unfortunately, the underprivileged people of the community usually perform such jobs, making tourism their only source of income. Therefore, a sustainable tourism model benefits local businesses and communities.
Benefits of Sustainable Tourism
Implementation of sustainable practices in the tourism industry is extremely important. Here are some amazing benefits of sustainable tourism:
Hunting tourism is one of the ugliest realities of the current tourism culture, and authorities can take measures against it with sustainable practices. With stringent laws in place, tourists won’t get involved in unethical activities like hunting or animal abuse. Responsible tourism discourages such barbaric acts, playing a crucial role in conserving wildlife.
Keeps Environment Clean
Many popular tourist spots in the past lost their charm over time. The reason? Pollution!
While developed tourism destinations like Dubai have extremely strict rules against littering and pollution, some underdeveloped countries do not follow such protocols. And because these are naturally gifted spots, they attract tourists from all around the world. However, due to the lack of strict laws and their implementation, visitors freely litter such places and cause different types of pollution. Gradually, the place loses its beauty and charm. Therefore, countries should include strict regulations in their tourism policies to prevent pollution. It will promote a cleaner environment with less pollution and preserve the place’s natural beauty.
Improves the Lifestyle of Locals
Tourism creates thousands of jobs for the locals. And if the industry improves its shortcomings, tourism can play an important role in the growth of local communities. For example, people can learn multiple languages by interacting with visitors. Similarly, companies will make investments to improve the overall infrastructure of the place. Ultimately, locals will benefit from better roads, street lighting, consistent electricity and water supply, etc. Locals can also promote their culture to different parts of the world.
Promotes Self Awareness in Travelers
When you visit a country, you’re a guest. Therefore, you should avoid indulging in harmful activities when travelling to a country. Responsible tourism practices help visitors keep their behavior in check and develop ethical habits.
We will conclude our guide here.
With responsible tourism practices in place, everyone can enjoy the natural beauty earth offers us and preserve it for generations to come. By joining hands to fight against actions that bring about resource depletion, cultural conflicts, littering, and polluting, we can ensure environmental sustainability.