A true definition of responsible tourism could be as follows: “Responsible tourism complies with the principles of social and economic justice and exerts full respect towards the environment and its cultures. It recognises the centrality of the local host community and its right to act as a protagonist in developing a sustainable and responsible tourism. Responsible tourism actuates to foster a positive interaction between the tourist industry, the local communities and the travellers”, defined by AITR‘s members in 2005.
Areas that one should look at is the following:
- Environment: to minimise the environmental impact created by tourists.
- Social: to give the local population a central role in the touristic development of their own territory. The involvement of the local community through a participatory democracy and in the decision-making process is essential for a sustainable touristic development.
- Culture: to respect the local culture by including its essence in the overall touristic development. Focussing on and creating an awareness of the local culture, its traditions, the lifestyle, the local gastronomy, the handcrafts.
- Economy: to generate equally distributed economic benefits for the local population and its hosting territory.
Wherever we go in the world, we take a responsible attitude with us. That means travelling in a way that both respects and benefits local people, their culture, their economy, and their environment. But if you’re not familiar with the term, sometimes it’s hard to know what people mean by the words ‘responsible tourism.’
Take care of the environment as you would your own home. Use alternatives to plastic and say no to plastic bags, recycle wherever possible, and try to keep your waste as low as possible. Avoid using bottled water if you can (the bottled water industry is killing the environment), and use refillable toiletry bottles instead of buying new travel-sized samples every time you take a trip. And of course, never take pieces of coral or other endangered plant life home as a souvenir.
Be smart and culture wise when travelling!! It always is best to leave a green footprint behind!!