Responsible Tourism is about making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit according to the Cape Town Declaration On Responsible Tourism. It is all about every government, tourism provider and every traveller taking specific steps to make tourism more sustainable.
But it is about far more than just that. Responsible travel isn’t just something you do, it isn’t just about putting a few policies in place or doing something that allows you to tick off a greenwashed box to make yourself feel better, responsible travel is a way of life. It is about ensuring that the issues around injustice, animal welfare, human rights and ecotourism affect our everyday behaviours and we use that knowledge to fundamentally change the way we travel for the better.
Independent world travellers and backpackers have always travelled in a way that leans toward responsible travel. It may not have always been perfect but as we learn more about how our behaviours impact the destinations we visit and the footprint we leave behind we can change our behaviour and fight for change in the travel industry itself. We can fight for evolving international standards on animal welfare or human rights, support the parts of the travel industry that get it riught and force those that aren’t to change by hitting them in their pockets, and travel in a way that ensures our travels leave a positive impact on the destinations, the populations, the wildlife and the envioronment we all visit.
My Bemused Backpacker Code Of Responsible Travel is a simple and easy set of guidelines that every traveller can use to ensure their travels have a positive impact and help the world and the envioronment as they enjoy the round the world adventures.
Tips And Advice.
Responsible travel is something I believe passionately about and the theme of that runs through every part of this site, including various sections where you can read more in depth about specific issues. Responsible travel isn’t just something we do, it is how we travel.
Responsible travel has moved from a niche buzzword to the mainstream within the tourism industry and that is a good thing, but it is an umbrella term that can be very confusing for travellers to understand what they can andd should do for the best. Start here to understand the basics of responsible travel and how you can make a positive impact.
Everyone loves animals, and seeing wildlife up close and personal is often right at the top of many peoples bucket lists. The problem is that wildlife tourism has not always been the most ethical or sustainable, and has often simply exploited animals and their habitats for profit. This continues today with greenwashing making things even more confusing, and ‘seeing animals in their natural habitat’ or going to a ‘sanctuary’ is not always as ethical as it seems and visiting a zoo isn’t always bad, so it is imperative that travellers have as much information as possible so they can try and make responsible and ethical decisions. I believe there is absolutely a place for wildlife tourism in the industry and tourism can be a huge force for good in wildlife conservation and it is down to individual travellers to make this happen.
Wildlife Tours And Experiences.
I love animals and wildlife, that much should be evident to anyone who has read anything on here, and over the last 20 years of travelling the world I have always taken the opportunity to see, interact with and help as many animals as possible. In all that time I have always tried my utmost to be as ethical and as responsible in those interactions as possible, unfortunately I haven’t always succeeded in that aim and have made a few mistakes along the way, but those mistakes have taught me many lessons and have pushed me to learn more and fight for wildlife conservation and animal care within the tourism industry. These are just a small, curated selection of the experiences, animal encounters and wildlife tours I have taken on my travels and I hope they help inform you of the things to look out for so you can have your own positive experience.
Volunteering And Voluntourism.
Volunteering when done right is a great and noble thing. It harnesses the power of altruism, helps a wide variety of communities and causes, and gives travellers the power to have a huge positive impact as part of their trip. Unfortunately voluntourism can also have a hugely negative impact too, with unscrupulous greenwashed companies taking advantage of travellers naivety and goodwill and making a huge profit whilst having zero benefit to any local community or cause and pushing negative stereotypes of poverty and helplessness as well. When choosing where and who to volunteer with, it isn’t as simple as looking in an online industry brochure and seeing what experience you want to do. You have to know the credentials of the company you will be volunteering with, what good they are doing, where the profit goes and many other things besides. So what do you need to know and what do you need to ask? These are just some of the questions these articles answer.
Responsible tourism is big business now. The demand from travellers and backpackers to have ethical, responsible and sustainable experiences as they travel has provided significant industry change over the last few years, and this demand is only growing stronger. Whilst this has in many cases led to some real change, it has also unfortunately led to a rise in greenwashing, where instead of making an actual effort to change, travel companies and providers have instead used marketing and PR spin to decieve travellers and make it appear that their products and services are envioronmentally or socially friendly when they are not. Travellers need to learn to spot the difference and act accordingly.
Environmental Impact Of Travel.
There are some aspects of travel that can have a negative impact on the envioronment and the planet. Increased carbon emissions and the needs of tourists being put above the sustainable needs of the envioronment, local populations or wildlife habitats are just some of the ways tourism can cause harm. The good news is that travellers have the power to affect positive change too, with the demand for sustainable and ethical tourism driving local communities to save habitats rather than allowing industry to take over and the profits from ethical wildlife tourism showing communities that it is in everyones interests to protect wildlife and the envioronment rather than exploit it. It is up to travellers to act and travel in such a way that tourism is an overall force for good.
Social Impact Of Travel.
Travel and tourism can have a significant positive impact on the destinations and communities it serves, providing a source of income and employment for many locals, as well as highlighting and keeping local culture and traditions alive, but it can also have a significantly negative impact if not carefully managed. Travellers need to ensure that overtourism doesn’t harm the destinations and communities they visit by being aware of the issues involved and making positive choices.
Responsible Tourism Partners.
Bemused Backpacker is proud to partner with Global Spirit, the worlds only company to specialise in providing unique, expert animal welfare assessments and recommendation services for all wildlife travel and tourism businesses, and are the worlds most experienced and trusted source for animal welfare audits.