Responsible Tourism: A Must For Today’s World Traveler

In today’s modern world, more and more people are able to travel, learning about other cultures and environments, but it is also important to ensure that those environments and cultures are protected in the process.

While tourism benefits any country financially, it can also lead to problems, especially if mass tourism hits a particular area of the world, both changing the environment and negatively impacting the local population.

A good example of this is on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain, where during the boom years thousands of concrete, high-rise apartment blocks and hotels sprung up all along the coastline. With the decline in the economy in 2008, many of these apartment blocks were never completed, and now stand empty, often covered in graffiti, and remain an ugly stain on the surrounding landscape.

Responsible tourism
[Image abandoned construction site cropped & resized via Flickr by steeedm/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
Other areas of Spain – including the island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands – have actively fought against these high-rise buildings, with regulations set on the number of floors any building can have and with outward design kept within the traditional look of the island. The Inquisitr recently reported on the Spanish artist, Cesar Manrique, who was born on the island and headed up an organization for just this purpose.

Responsible travel
[Photo Lanzarote via Flickr by Marc Veraart/CC BY-ND 2.0]
Many other countries are actively involved in promoting responsible tourism, including South Africa, which according to Traveller24 is set to dominate the Africa Responsible Tourism awards this year. That competition awards responsible tourist initiatives in Africa that take responsibility for the environment of their destinations, as well as the local citizens. The awards are set to be handed out as part of the Africa Travel Week, running from April 6-8 this year.

Reportedly out of a total of 60 African institutions, representing 13 African countries, 25 of the participants in the awards are based in South Africa.

In other recent news, Vietnam is also doing its part towards responsible tourism, especially in the southern-most part of the country. Vietnam News reports the new plan was tabled recently at a workshop by Kien Giant tourism authorities, with a focus on the “National Tourism Year 2016 – Phu Quoc – Mekong Delta” and has been called “Discovery of the Southern Land.”

Responsible tourism
[Photo Mekong River Delta via Flickr by eutrophication&hypoxia/CC BY 2.0]
Many travel and tour groups are joining the fight and are concentrating on responsible tourism options worldwide, with Families Worldwide offering a range of suitable and responsible vacation options for families.

These include a visit to the Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Center in Borneo where the family can learn about all the work being done to help the endangered animals. Orangutans in Asia are currently in peril due to the many palm oil plantations which are taking away their traditional home.

Responsible tourism in Borneo
[Image Orangutan in Borneo via Flickr by shankar s./CC BY 2.0]
There are many other projects that involve indigenous cultures and the support of plant and animal life in the world where tourists can actively help to protect, or restore, the environment, including a trip to the small village in Kododo, Tanzania, which will help to fund a school.

The aim of responsible tourism is to minimize the effect of tourism on the environment and the indigenous cultures in those countries and to ensure that the accommodation, touring, and other travel options on offer are done on a fair basis and staff are treated well and paid a reasonable salary for their work.

Responsible tourism also encourages both staff and visitors to learn about and respect the various cultures and customs of the countries they are visiting. In other words to help keep the status quo in the visited country and by visiting, actually aiding the economy of those foreign lands.

Probably the best attitude to take when traveling the world is to leave only footprints and take only photos of your adventures in other lands.

[Photo of Lanzarote via Flickr by wiseguy71/CC BY-SA 2.0]