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Ethical & Responsible Travel

Ethical and responsible travel does not need to be boring and it certainly doesn’t take the fun out of travel; in fact it adds a sense of satisfaction which can’t be gained any other way.

So what does it all mean?

Tourism is one of the world’s biggest industries, worth hundreds of billions of dollars worldwide. It is a truly globalised industry often controlled by multinational corporations with the financial backing to squeeze local businesses out of the market.

In places where the average weekly wage is US$20 it seems strange that a hotel room can cost US$200 a night… this profit is not always seen by local people, but rather lines the pockets of shareholders across the world.

Not that ‘big business’ is entirely to blame or that they are all unethical. Many have brought positive development and improvements to local populations and provide employment for hundreds of thousands of people. Increasingly sustainability policies are being put into effect to demonstrate a commitment to being a positive influence in the regions in which a company operates.

It is through effective independent research that you will have the most positive influence; by discovering the ‘green’ and ethical companies that operate in this sector. Travel can be a positive influence, it can help communities develop, provide education and health care services.

During our Independent Travel Safety & Cultural Awareness Workshop we discuss the issue of responsible and ethical travel, the information we provide will help you to consider the impact your trip will have on the world as a whole and your hosts in particular. We will look at easy ways you can reduce the negative impact you have, promote the positive contribution you can make and still have the trip of a lifetime.

We don’t feel that our workshop is a suitable place to ‘lecture’ participants on the subject of ethical and responsible travel, but rather to provide the information to allow individuals to make these choices for themselves.

Considerations travellers may make include

  • Carbon Footprint
  • Environmental Impact
  • Sustainability of Local Resources
  • Validity of Volunteering Projects
  • Workers Rights & Fair Pay
  • Benefit to Local Communities
  • Human Rights

One rule we do ‘preach’ is Always Buy Local

Not only does this support local communities, but usually the product is better and cheaper.

 

An Example:

When I was last in Bali, I met a couple staying in a big ‘international branded’ hotel at over US$200 a night. They visited me for a drink at my local family run bungalow and were surprised to find it hidden away from the traffic and hectic side streets in a beautiful palm grove; my location was much quieter, nicer, cleaner and more convenient than their expensive hotel.

What annoyed them most was that I was paying just US$5 a night… and when they joined me for the local breakfast (which was included in the price), it made their dreary breakfast buffet seem like a school dinner.

 

It is not possible to travel without having an impact, but it is possible to try and make the positives outweigh the negatives. 

Don’t let a guilty conscience stop you travelling, let your good conscience take you to destinations which can support tourism without adversely affecting the local community.

Above all, go where you know they will actually welcome you as a tourist and not see you as a burden or a nuisance.