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What is Responsible Travel (aka Responsible Tourism)?
by Ron Mader

RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL WIKI

You'll never reach the end of the road while you're traveling with me.
- Travel Notebook

Mark your calendar! Everyone's invited to Responsible Travel Week 2014, February 10-16 #rtweek14

FLICKR ALBUM: Responsible Travel


While tourism campaigns have long touted 'destinations' -- we are simply entering a place that is someone else's home.

If those working in the tourist trade embrace the values our counterparts wish developed, then we can make a huge leap forward. The trick lies in listening to locals, listening to visitors and creating the opportunites that connect top-down and grassroots efforts. Travel agents, travel providers and travelers are the principal players.

Here's my thought: responsible tourism is treating others the way they wish to be treated. It's a variation on the Platinum Rule ... it's also common sense and good manners.

A growing number of travelers want their journeys to be less invasive and more beneficial to the local community. They want to better understand the culture of the people they meet in the places they visit. Visitors should be mindful that we are entering a place that is someone else's home. Sounds complicated? Try this -- imagine what irresponsible tourism looks like and then imagine its opposite.

Or put another way - courtesy of the 2002 Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism -- responsible tourism creates better places for people to live and better places to visit.

CAPE TOWN DECLARATION

Responsible tourism as defined in the 2002 Cape Town Declaration:

• minimizes 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, to the maintenance of the world's 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; and
• is culturally sensitive, engenders respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence.

The declaration concludes with a commitment 'to work with others to take responsibility for achieving the economic, social and environmental components of responsible and sustainable tourism.'

TRENDS

We ask a lot of tourism these days ... that it be eco, that it be sustainable and that it be responsible. These signs are encouraging. Global tourism is experiencing a massive transformation in the 21st century. Travelers and locals are seeking ways of building constituencies with the shared goal of making tourism more responsible.

Toward that end we propose connecting the natural and virtual worlds. Live Local. Think Global. Respond personally.

Says noted author and activist Deborah McLaren: "Responsible tourism is based on ethics and human rights. It also means support for community-based travelers' programs, including homestays, guest cottages, ethno-museums, and educational programs that bring tourist dollars directly into communities."

TOWARD CONSERVATION

Responsible travel means extending solidarity over time. Efforts that exhibit continuity make poor situations better and good situations great. How to stay in touch? As Rob Brezsny writes in Pronoia, "Choose worthy targets and ransack your imagination to come up with smart, true and amusing praise about them."

CONCLUSION

The work ahead lies in connecting top-down and grassroots efforts. Responsible travel means extending solidarity over time. Efforts that lack continuity, even if developed with good intentions, can make situations worse.

For a recommended overview, download the Responsible Travel Handbook (PDF) published by Transitions Abroad.

What is the opposite of responsible tourism? How about irresponsible tourism?! There is even a web forum that discusses the troubling aspects in travel such as wildlife exploitation and irresponsible tour operators.


FEATURES

g Fair Trade in Travel Writing and Photography
g
Responsible Travel Photography
g Choosing where to go and what to do once you get there
g
Definitions
g Ethical Travel
g Deepening Engagement How Local, Regional and National Governments Brag, Develop and Nurture Travel and Tourism
g How to be a responsible traveler

the platinum rule

FACEBOOK

g Responsible Tourism Networking
b Irresponsible Tourism
ONLINE FACEBOOK

FLICKR

g Responsible Travel
b Responsible Travel Group
ONLINE FLICKR

WIKI

g Responsible Travel
g Responsible Tourism Week
g Responsible Tourism in Oaxaca
g 2014 Responsible Travel Week
g 2013 Responsible Travel Week
g 2012 Responsible Tourism Year
g 2012 Responsible Tourism Week
g 2011 Responsible Tourism in Cities Conference
g 2011 Responsible Tourism at the World Cup (New Zealand)
g 2011 Responsible Tourism Week
g 2010 Responsible Tourism at the World Cup (South Africa)
g 2010 Responsible Tourism Week
g 2009 Responsible Tourism Week
g Responsible Tourism in Cities
ONLINE WIKI

VIDEO

g Message for Responsible Tourism Conference (2009)
g Message for Responsible Tourism Conference (2008)
VIDEO

DEFINING RESPONSIBLE TOURISM

Google 'responsible tourism'
Newsgoogle 'responsible tourism'
Responsible Travel - Wikipedia

LANGUAGE

Responsible tourism has many names including turismo responsable, verantwortlichen Tourismus.


QUESTIONS

What is responsible travel?
What is irresponsible travel?
What are the boundaries of responsible travel?
How should we develop codes of conduct?

 

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FREE DOWNLOAD

Responsible Travel Handbook, 2006
- This anthology focuses on responsible tourism around the globe and was prepared by the editors of Transitions Abroad. Free download as PDF (2 megs)

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