In recent years, I have been wondering about the direction of our company. Always more consumption, less and less exchange and sharing. We buy and throw without any thought, we take everything, immediately without thinking about the consequences for tomorrow. A society of the present that does not build the future, but seeks only maximum profit.a
Unfortunately this observation is true in all areas. The trip is also a business, which has also experienced a boom in the past twenty years with the emergence of the “low coast” in air transport. As more and more people travel, more and more tourists consume catastrophically for the planet and ecosystems. Responsible travel becomes an emergency if we do not want to see beautiful places disappear because of this unthinking mass tourism.
I am far from being a perfect traveler and some of my practices as a tourist are not sufficiently thoughtful, not sufficiently responsible. I am aware of this state of affairs and I try at my level to improve myself and to tend towards more responsible trips. I am gradually moving towards an alternative tourism more ecological, more responsible and sustainable!
All that is fine, but these are just words and beautiful ideas, but concretely how to do? Where to start ?
What does responsible travel mean?
I think that at first, it may be wise to simply give a definition to responsible travel. For many of us this notion remains a little abstract. Finally, there are really no frameworks and institutional rules governing this concept.
Definition of Responsible Travel (or Sustainable Travel):
Responsible tourism is tourism that participates in the development of populations and territories of the earth while contributing to the challenges of the 21st century.
– Fight against global warming and climate change
– Protection of the environment, biodiversity and fragile environments
– Fight against violations of human rights
In a way, it is to apply the principles of sustainable development to the tourism economy.
Responsible tourism aims to preserve natural, cultural and social resources in the long term.
Responsible tourism must :
– Minimize negative economic, social and environmental
effects – Generate economic benefits for local populations and improve their living conditions
– Involve local populations in decisions that affect them
– Allow tourists to better understand local cultures by offering unique experiences in direct relation with local populations
– Allow access to people with disabilities
Why set out on a path to more responsible tourism?
In the last 20 years, global tourism has exploded, seeing almost the number of tourists traveling in the world double. Nearly 1.2 billion tourists in 2016 and 1.5 billion tourists expected in 2020 by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Who says more tourists, also says more consequences on the environment and local cultures. The repercussions could be catastrophic for the future of the planet if we do nothing.
What are the impacts of mass tourism?
Tourism pollutes on two levels. The production of waste in some areas of the world, which in addition do not have most of the infrastructure to manage this exponential increase. And the consumption of polluting non-renewable energies, like the oil used by planes taking tourists.
The over consumption of natural resources:
Fresh water is perhaps the most obvious example. In some “tourist” countries people do not even have fresh water to wash, while hotels offer their guests huge bathtubs. It also concerns fossil fuels, forests, etc.
Some areas, rich in biodiversity, are already threatened and degraded by mass tourism. There are many examples: the Australian coral reef , the Amazon rainforest, the Malaysian forests, and so on.
The degradation of culture and local social life:
The tourist brings with him a certain number of expectations and needs, to meet them, the local culture is sometimes undermined. Folklorization , mimicry, consumerism, commodification, all this distorts the authenticity of certain peoples. The locals adapt to this new demand and gradually lose their culture to Westernize. They want to be richer and do like the tourists they see daily. This has disastrous consequences that can lead to excesses such as child labor or sex tourism. Not to mention the tourists who do not respect anything and do not take a second look at the habits and customs, the religion and the local culture.