Yes, you can travel responsibly!
With the summer holidays around the corner in the northern hemisphere, many of us are already dreaming about discovering new places, taste new dishes and enjoy the local culture of our next vacation spot.
In the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, whether your trip takes you to a tropical beach, a bustling city or a tranquil village, you can be the change you want to see in the world.
Join the TRAVEL. ENJOY.RESPECT movement!
Here are some tips to guide you!
1. Honour your hosts and our common heritage
Each destination is different and unique, from its history, architecture, religion, dress and communication codes, to its music, art and cuisine. Learn, explore and experience new sounds, flavors and traditions and embrace diversity. Research beforehand and try to understand the local customs. Allow locals to explain to you about their culture and heritage and be open to joining them in their daily activities and discovering more about their values.
2. Protect our planet
The rule is simple: try to leave the place you visited as you found it, if not better. Respect the places you visit, their wildlife and natural inhabitants, by accessing only places open to visitors in protected areas. Try to reduce your environmental impact by reducing your water and electricity consumption whenever possible and always remember to leave a good impression behind.
3. Support the local economy
Learn more about the places you are visiting by hiring local guides with in-depth knowledge of the area and insider tips, such as the finest restaurant to try a certain type of traditional meal or the best store to purchase original local handicrafts. Also, when looking for gifts and souvenirs to bring back to your family and friends, remember to favor and buy locally-made handcrafts and products. When doing that, respect livelihoods of local vendors and artisans by paying a fair price.
4.Be an informed traveller
As tempting as voluntourism may sound, sometimes it might not have the positive impact that was intended that is why is crucial to research well before embarking on such a journey. Additionally, try taking appropriate health and safety precautions prior and during your trip and get to know how to access medical care or contact your embassy in case of an emergency.
5. Be a respectful traveller
Traveling is not only about the places but also the people, respect individuals´ human rights and and protect children from exploitation whenever possible, by refraining from giving money to begging children and support community projects instead.
These are only some practical steps that will make your travels as rewarding and gratifying as possible for you, for the people you meet, and for the places you visit.
Looking for more ideas? Download the Tips for a Responsible Traveler developed by the World Committee on Tourism Ethics.