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Responsible tourism

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Manos Amigas What does Responsible tourism mean?

The primary feature of responsible tourism is the awareness, both of ourselves and of our actions, which include buying (for example a card, a present or to rent a room); our impact (socially, culturally, economically and environmentally) on the destination countries; the possibility of a considered, thus different, choice.

Responsible travel means travelling ethically and thoughtfully, respecting the country, people and environment of destination. It is about avoiding destruction and exploitation, carrying the universal principles of equity, sustainability and tolerance.

Responsible tourism principles Week end maggio 2006 nei Geositi

  • To make the tourist aware of his/her role as a consumer, on whom it depends the offer’s quality and the destiny of millions of people living in the travel destination;
  • To encourage the respect for different cultures and the willingness to adapt to different habits and lifestyles;
  • To minimize the negative impact of mass tourism on local culture and environment, supporting local suppliers, accommodations and transport services; choosing local partners who respect the trade union’s standards; travelling in small groups, encouraging an authentic interaction with the native populations;
  • To respect and support the local communities’ right to decide on their own territory, and to establish continuative relationships of cooperation;
  • To offer the traveller the widest choice in terms of time and contents, organizing itineraries which include limited destinations and avoiding an excess in organization, in order to have enough time to enjoy the holiday;
  • To ensure fair financial benefits for the host community (from locally owned accommodation to tourist services provided);
  • To employ local guides who will teach the traveller the acceptable behaviours in relation to the local culture and will help Him/Her to get involved with the local population.

The responsible traveller is someone who:

  • has a genuine interest in sharing the various day life aspects with the native population and doesn’t expect privileges or practises that may have a negative impact;
  • doesn’t show off wealth and money that may offend the local population;
  • asks people their permission before taking photos and videos;
  • doesn’t behave in an offensive way towards local costumes;
  • is interested in local products and services which are expression of the local culture and identity;
  • is respectful of the local environment and of the historical and cultural heritage.

Are you aware that …

… hotel swimming pools and air conditioning produce over 1/5 of the total carbon monoxide and global air pollution?

… taking a hot shower on the Himalaya implies burning a lot of wood, contributing to the deforestation process?

… in Hawaii and Barbados each tourist uses water and electricity 6 to 10 times more than the local population?

… in Goa villagers have to walk to wells every day to get their water, while pipes have been built on their land to take water to big hotels?

… the opening of a golf course in Sardinia has caused a shortage of water for many hours in the villages nearby?

… transport is the primary cause for CO2 emission in the world?

… financial benefits related to tourism in a 3rd world Country like Gambia is only 20% compared to 60% in Spain?

… mass tourism causes damages to local survival systems, expropriating land to local farmers in order to build big hotels, tourist complexes and golf courses?

… many international investors consider dictatorships more “reliable” than democratic governments, thus tourism in certain Countries may cause a higher disrespect of human rights?


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