Saturday, 12 July 2014

Responsible Tourism

My travel taste-buds are maturing. That doesn't mean I've become an old fogey, really it doesn't, just that I am more aware of the impacts that the presence, or the anticipated presence of, tourists, has on a place.

 Let's start by    





 RESPONSIBLE IS NOT BORING. 

Responsible tourism can actually be exciting, fulfilling and downright fun. You get to meet the locals (not just the barman, though he will be pleased to see you too!), get to understand more about where you are visiting - culture, traditions, the environment - and at the same time you are helping your host's economy and helping protect the environment.

Yeah, yeah, we've heard it all before. 

Well you may have done - 2002 is when the World Travel Market (WTM) met in Cape Town and made a declaration on responsible tourism. 

The 2002 Cape Town declaration agreed that responsible tourism:

  • minimises negative economic, environmental and social impacts
  • generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well being of host communities; improves working conditions and access to the industry
  • involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances
  • makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural  and cultural heritage embracing diversity
  • provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues
  • provides access for physically challenged people
  • is culturally sensitive, encourages respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence


There is an award scheme to help promote responsible tourism that ranges from  large organisations to the individual. The award coincides with World Responsible Tourism Day on the 5th November.  Last year's winners can be found here.

If you would like to nominate a place/organisation/individual/film etc you can do so at the WTM website.


Tell us about some trips where we can be responsible and have fun.

OK, I shall....


Coach football abroad The World Cup may be drawing to a close but the love of football remains strong in some. If you are one of them you can join a charity such as Challenge (UK) which organises footballing tours and coaching in Cameroon and Kenya.

                                               

It's not just about football,they use "football development as a tool for health and well-being, peace building and to target one of the root causes of youth poverty ‘unemployment'".


Homestay Holidays Staying with people in their own homes is a good way to get insider knowledge of a place. Not only do you get to save money on accommodation that is better spent elsewhere, you get to help the people who live there too. This can be really important in places where incomes are low. Some hosts also double-up as tour-guides which gives you great insider knowledge. Homestay.com is one of the  websites offering guests and hosts the opportunity to match up. They have places from Cuba to Eire; Sri Lanka to Croatia.  




Group tour to Vietnam                                                                                                                                                                                                





This tour, booked through Responsible Travel.com uses local guides, visits  a restaurant dedicated to training street kids and disadvantaged youth in hospitality skills, as well as showing you the sights of Hanoi and Ho Chi Min. 






Cooking holiday in Andalucía




As well as learning how to cook authentic Andalucían dishes, the holiday includes buying produce in the local markets of Málaga and Marbella, a wine-tasting and tapas trip to Mijas village and a chance to see the only orginal artisan production of olive oil in the region on a visit to Ronda. 






These are just a few options, that show ways in which travel can be fun and (shh) responsible.

Happy Travels!

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