So the UN has declared 2017 the year of sustainable tourism for development. Tourism is responsible for 10% of the world’s GDP and has huge developmental potential for countries with limited exports but are rich in cultural and environmental experiences. 2015 saw 1.2 billion international travellers, it is time to take this growth seriously, ensuring it has positive rather than negative impacts.
Peoples ethical spending has always been of great interest. After meeting a particular customer I wondered if sustainability was finally becoming part of consumerism… Could it be possible that people are beginning to think of ethics first?
The customers very first question was;
‘I am looking for a responsible holiday where I can make a positive impact on Namibia, how does Responsible Travel’s holidays provide this?‘.
Sustainability and social consciousness has suddenly been given a competitive advantage. So perhaps it is time for businesses to move fluffy, tokenism charity work into real business practices?
Building a society without fossil fuels is possible. We need to shake of the myth that it cannot be done. The belief that a country needs to choose between nature and development is complete rubbish. This TED Talk explains all.
Costa Rica, although relatively special due to its volcanic activity, produces nearly 100% of its energy from renewables. However, Austria and Germany have taken huge leaps without a volcano in sight.
Many may say the responsible tourist looks for ethics, social consciousness and supporting the local population economically. But really the bottom line is EXPERIENCE. Working in responsible tourism I occasionally get asked about the political, social and economic benefits of the holiday but this always comes second. So what does a responsible tourist look for? What are the most common questions? Here are a few of my regulars…
93% of corals have been impacted by abnormally warm waters. Coral bleaching has spread around the globe, devastating reef mortality and resulting in a sense of urgency amongst some tourists. A feeling of ‘I have to get there before its too late!’ is sweeping across many travellers. This has created a form of tourism that I have come to loathe the most, ‘last-chance Tourism’. It suggests a feeling of hopelessness, that we are too late and nothing can be done. Conservation soon gets replaced by an acceptance of demise and we extract as much as we can before it disappears. This needs to change and fast!
The warning signs have been around for a very long time. Responsible Travel has been campaigning for its closure for years, Born Free and other NGO’s have been screaming out to people to stop going. There are even films on YouTube showing tigers being hit so what went wrong, why did it stay open for so long? Why are we all surprised that 40 dead cubs were found in the freezer when the National Geographic linked it to a black market trade? Continue reading