According to Skift ‘the new luxury is defined by small brands with big stories’ and I couldn’t agree more! Skift’s megatrends of 2017 have touched on something amazing for responsible tourism. Stories are essential to selling responsible tourism and the industry is full to the brim of anecdotes just waiting to be told. Continue reading
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?
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
I am still unsure whether holiday companies have grasped the idea that responsible tourism is essential if they are going to keep their heads above the water. Profitability is always the best way to convince holiday companies that responsible tourism is a sensible addition to their products. For example, it provides a competitive advantage and is making its way into holiday itineraries. However, responsible tourism isn’t essential for business but rather an additional cost or a bit of a pain (so much so that many pay other companies to increase their responsible tourism credentials through tokenistic schemes like carbon offsetting) and it is also a lot of extra work for little return. So how do we make responsible travel indispensable?
Tourists are now searching for something a little different in their holidays and marketers have been cashing in on the demand. Words like ‘authentic’ are now being spread across many holiday itineraries like its tomato ketchup; itineraries cannot do without it but tourists are noticing things still taste as bland as ever. The general multinational holiday providers such as First Choice haven’t been able to keep up with the demand and tourists are beginning to look elsewhere. This change is opening up huge opportunities for smaller, more specialised travel companies such as the ones offered by Responsible Travel.
As tourists start to branch into new possibilities the larger, more general operators need to be reactive and anticipate the trends. It is still the case that Disney Land, Benidorm, cruises and the all inclusive holidays make up the largest chunk of tourism revenue. But amazingly, responsible tourism is forcing its way in and popping up in places you would least expect.