The world is a beautiful place & people are inspired to travel. But travelling can have adverse effects, which is why Responsible Tourism matters. Responsible Tourism refers to the shared responsibility of the host and the traveller ensuring sustainability. It helps in protecting the environment, the culture & the history of a particular place.
The Cape Town Declaration definition of Responsible Tourism states, "making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit." Travelling is a medium to realize and accept that we all are different yet the same. It opens doors for a different perspective and better insight into a particular place's cultural, social, and environmental issues. What is responsible for a specific area depends on its culture and environment, which should decide our behaviour. Accountable tourists will keep in mind the best interest of the place they are visiting including the local communities, ensuring that their actions serve them positively. There are multiple ways of being a Responsible Tourist. Supporting local communities can lead to increased job opportunities as well as an environmentally friendly economy. Avoiding habitat exploitation can conserve the richness of a particular place. Responsible travel also includes being open-minded, behaving like a native, and respecting the cultural variations of an area. Trips with a purpose can contribute to an enormous change. Volunteering with local NGOs is one way to do it. Be a responsible tourist and understand the impact our choices have on exploring different places.
Reduce your carbon footprints: Offsetting your carbon emission is one step towards a longer life span of Nature and you. Minimal efforts such as carpooling, recycling or switching over to bikes as and when you get a chance and mark your contribution towards a sustainable environment.
Use local resources: Plan your trip with local tour guides, buy local souvenirs and enjoy the community as a whole. This will mean directly investing in that place and promoting economic growth.
Reduce single-use plastic: Always carry reusable items such as refillable water bottles, foil wraps, metal straws and cutlery while travelling. Plastic is non-biodegradable which makes it dangerous to our planet.
Volunteer: Plan trips with a purpose or a goal. Find NGOs that contribute to the planet and search for ways to be a part of it. Explore a destination but also feel proud of giving something back.
Travel offseason: The impact of high season tourism is pushing both rural and urban destinations over the edge. It is better advised to travel off-season whenever you can to support local people throughout the year.
Social Media Handling: In a digital world it is amazing what impact one picture can make. Hence, it is important to engage in responsible tourism with your captions and the overall picture. For example; if there are portraits involved of certain people or children it is important not to Geotag as it can lead to crimes.
Respect the practices of locals: A crucial part of being a responsible tourist is that you should know the cultural norms of the place you are travelling to and respect them. Try and not cross the pre-defined boundaries and take them as it is. Follow the rules made for a particular city.
Water Conservation: Filtration in sewage systems: This will clear all the waste in the water. Meaning, clean water going to the oceans. As a result, some filters that can depollute the oceans will save marine life.
Go Green at your Hotel: The opportunity to go green starts with your hotel. If you are staying more than a day, ask them not to change your sheets and towels every day. Similarly, turn off air conditioners, heaters, and other electronic gadgets when not in use. Go for hotels that have recycling programs in place and abide by their guidelines.
Explore the hidden gems/unexplored: Highly populated areas often lead to over-tourism. By going to unexplored places the weight of the overall popularity will decrease, hence decreasing the burden on the resources of that area.