SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL
This advice is based on the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism of the World Tourism Organization. Travel and tourism should be practiced as a means of individual and collective fulfillment. When practiced with an open mind, it is an irreplaceable means of education, mutual tolerance and solidarity-building.
Everyone has a role to play creating responsible travel and tourism. Governments, business and communities must do all they can, but as a guest you can support this in many ways:
1. Open your mind to other cultures and traditions; it will transform your experience, you will earn respect and be more readily welcomed by local people.
2. Respect human rights. Exploitation in any form conflicts with the fundamental aims of tourism. The sexual exploitation of children is a crime punishable in the destination or at the offender’s home country.
3. Help preserve natural environments. Protect wildlife and habitats and do not purchase products made from endangered plants or animals.
4. Respect cultural resources. Activities should be conducted with respect for the artistic, archaeological and cultural heritage.
5. Your trip can contribute to economic and social development. Purchase local handicrafts and products to support the local economy using the principles of fair trade. Bargaining for goods should reflect an understanding of a fair wage.
6. Make sure that your specific requirements (diet, accessibility, medical care) can be fulfilled before you decide to travel to this destination.
7. Familiarize yourself with the laws so that you do not commit any act considered criminal. Refrain from all trafficking in illicit drugs, arms, antiques, protected species and products or substances that are prohibited by national regulations.
Avoiding the “Ugly Visitor” Syndrome:
Become acquainted with local customs and respect them. Avoid behavior that could offend local people.
Do not make promises to local people or to new friends that you cannot keep. Do not make promises of sending money or material aid upon your return home. It is often difficult to follow through on such
promises, which can create disappointment or bad feelings on the part of our hosts.
Do not take pictures of people without asking. Pictures can be a valuable record of your trip and may be
very useful in educational work in the future.However, always ask permission and respect peoples’ wishes.
Travel Giving – Do’s and Dont’s
- Air travel is among the most destructive things human beings do. It produces massive quantities of greenhouse gases, and the impact of those GHGs is multiplied by the fact that they are released at such high altitudes. When greenhouse gases are dumped into the atmosphere, that is an irreversible process that will impact the climate for hundreds of years. Many travel providers encourage the purchase of carbon offsets to counter the GHG emissions from travel.
MORE TRAVEL TIPS
• We strongly encourage you to give donations to organizations instead of individuals. If you are interested in giving money or gifts to a specific group, please speak to your Tour Coordinator. One of the negative side effects of tourism is the creation of an economic state dependent on tourists.
• Many people find that it is nice to offer gifts to the organizations we visit. This is not required but it can be a nice way to show your gratitude for their time and attention. We recommend modest gifts that say something about your life and culture, such as:
-Arts and crafts supplies: brushes, water colors, etc.
-t-shirts from organizations and causes you support.
-baseball caps from your favorite sports team.
-handicrafts or postcards from where you live.
-games and sports equipment such as soccer or baseballs.
• Although it is fascinating to visit local , be mindful that your ‘tour’ can be disruptive so it is always important to be aware of how you would like to be treated in your home.
• Do not purchase illegal plants or animal products under any circumstances.
• Choose hotels and tour operators who are committed to conservation and supporting social programs in the areas where they operate. This is one important way to ensure that the authentic places you visit will remain intact for generations to come.
• Dress and act respectfully according to the local standards. Ask your tour operator about other specific tips for responsible travel in your specific destination. For instance, are you in an area where it may be frowned upon to enter a local cultural attraction in sandals, shorts, sleeveless tops or other revealing warm weather clothing?
• Tell your friends and family about your memorable experiences with a responsible tourism operator and encourage them to also travel in a sustainable way. Consider writing a review online to tell others of the important conservation and social development work done through your tour provider.