A Guide to Being a Responsible Traveller - The world is not such a lonely planet anymore but the very resources we promote through tourism are in danger of degradation.
In order to develop a sustainable tourism and travel industry, some key areas to consider include:
- Be considerate – of the communities and environment you visit.
- Don’t litter. Try to carry your own shopping bag to avoid contributing to the plastic problem in many countries of the world.
- Try to avoid excessive waste and the use of plastic bottles (in many countries there is no way of disposing of these, therefore creating plastic mountains due to tourism) – bring your own and consider purifying your own water & remove all packaging before leaving home.
- Reduce energy consumption. Unplug your mobile phone charger, turn off the lights…
- Conserve water. Take shorter showers… the average hotel guest uses over 300 litres of water per night! In a luxury hotel it is approx. 1800 litres!
- Always ask before taking photographs. If someone says no, respect their wishes.
- Educate yourself about the place you are visiting and the people.
- Respect cultural differences – and learn from it! People in different places do things differently – don’t try to change them – enjoy them.
- Dress respectively. Cover up away from the beach. Cover your head in religious places. Notice local dress codes and adhere to them.
- Do not purchase or eat endangered species (e.g. turtle egg soup, crocodile handbags). Choose sustainable seafood
- Support the local economy. Buy locally made souvenirs, eat at local restaurants – enjoy the local culture!
- Do not give pens, candy or other gifts to local children – it fosters a begging economy. If you wish to donate, contact a local school or tour operator who can ensure the gifts are distributed fairly and properly.
- Do not support the illegal drug trade or the sex trade.
- Take public transport. Or if you must rent a car – why not a hybrid or electric one if available?
- Support a local charity or organisation that works towards responsible
- Before you go, ask your travel provider (tour operator, travel agent) about the company’s environmental and responsible tourism policies – support those who support responsible tourism.
- Ask your accommodation provider (hotel, guest house, lodge) about their sustainability practices – do they compost? Recycle? Have fair labour laws? Have an environmental policy?
- Support responsible tourism organizations – those operators who publicly are aiming to make tourism more responsible.
- Support local organisations – either in the place you visit or where you live
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