Responsible tourism is a term that is gaining quite a bit of traction in today’s conscientious society. With the ever-increasing access to travel, it is important to many tourists today to give thoughtful planning to the footprint they will leave behind in any new destination in which they find themselves. It is a thrilling challenge to set for yourself when contemplating how you can be more mindful in your travels. Take a look at the following list to help you set realistic and noble goals:
1. Check out local markets.
For many people, responsible tourism refers solely to the potential impact on the eco environment. But the term encompasses so much more. It is important to contemplate how your travels will affect the local people population. Too often, large corporations invade the travel scene and impede progress for local inhabitants. As such, take a look around and shop at the local food markets. Forego the larger supermarkets and ask where you could find fresh, local food. Keep this in mind for restaurants, as well. Plus, you will have the added bonus of experiencing the local cuisine. Fresh food is always better for everyone.
2. Look around for a privately-owned hotel.
Much like corporations can take over the food scene, they can also take over the accommodations. To support the local economy, head over to a smaller inn, owned by locals. You will be supporting small businesses. Generally, local owners employ more environmentally-friendly practices, as well. This certainly will kill two birds with one stone, but, of course, only figuratively.
3. Do some volunteering.
If you really want to make a difference through your travels, then check out local volunteer opportunities. Just make sure that you check through UNICEF or any other conscientious organization to vet the volunteer options you want to pursue. Not all are created equal and some may be more harmful than helpful. Volunteering, as they say, can do as much good for your own soul as those that you will certainly touch.
4. Find a travel agent who supports your goals.
Thankfully, there are a few travel agencies out there that focus on responsible tourism. They should be connected with different groups that can help you work toward your goal of a responsible trip. Generally, they will also have a specific plan of action to ensure a healthy trip.
5. Be mindful of your impact on nature.
Of course, the standard rules of no littering or pollution help. But there may be ways in which your adventures will impact your surrounding environment of which you may not be aware. For example, when snorkeling, make sure you do not touch any coral reefs. You may also schedule environmentally-friendly tours.
6. Check out on-line “reviews.”
Since the era of responsible tourism is catching on quickly, there are several online sites that tourists can access to pass on helpful hints and guidance for particular regions. Do your research ahead of time and make sure you are informed of local custom.
7. Look at alternatives to air travel.
Air travel is often necessary for people to reach their destinations. But there may be alternatives. Unfortunately, air travel is very damaging to the environment and should be avoided when possible. Check out carpools, ship cruises, train rides and other alternative methods.