Many may say ethics, social consciousness or perhaps supporting the local population economically. But really the bottom line is EXPERIENCE. Working in responsible tourism I do 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 when making their final decisions? What are the most common questions? Here’s 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 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 tourists. This has created a form of tourism that I have come to loath 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 have 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
The English traveler often falls back on the English Foreign Travel Advice (FCO) for… well holiday advice. But the FCO world is a scary place, everywhere is either horrible, diseased, full of terrorists, robbers, protesters, guns, drugs… you get the idea. It has become the ‘google self diagnosis’ for holidays; if you start googling the symptoms of your illness you will soon find you have cancer rather than a simple cold! The point is, if you look for trouble, you will find it and ABTA/ATOLS fear mongering hasn’t helped. Bonding schemes have actually created insecurities rather than security and a trust issue amongst customers. Furthermore, due to the media, outbreaks like Ebola not only hurt the epicentre but also the surrounding countries, although a serious concern the Zika virus is starting to echo this effect.
Recently the underbelly of an angry Facebook world was opened up to me by accident. It made me reconsider how much I really wanted to be involved with the online world. I was no longer in control of what I saw, read and therefore learnt; on Facebook everybody else chooses what I see! But further to that, Facebook ultimately has the last word. This felt a little unsettling and I decided to dig a little further and my decision to ignore Facebook was quick and easy. Continue reading
The below picture really caught my attention this week. It is an incredibly provocative example of our relationship with animals. How does it make you feel? Does it make you want to support the conservation of orangutans or fight to put this one back in the wild?