Responsible travel

Responsible travel is a form of travel that pursues three key concerns:

to affect or damage the traveled nature as little as possible
to experience nature as closely as possible, intensively and originally
to adapt as much as possible to the culture of the country traveled.
Soft tourism is part of the concept of strong sustainability, along with the demand to preserve and invest in the remaining stocks of natural capital.

A growing number of travelers want their journeys to be less invasive and more beneficial to the local community. They want to better understand the culture of the people they meet in the places they visit. Visitors should be mindful that we are entering a place that is someone else’s home.

Responsible tourism is tourism that contributes to the development of populations and host territories in North and South while contributing to the challenges of the xxi th century: the fight against climate change, protecting biodiversity and fragile environments and fight against human rights abuses. It is therefore applying the principles of sustainable development to tourism. In order to frame and define responsible tourism, UNWTO in 1999 developed the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. It was finally adopted by a UN resolutionin 2001 and can apply to all branches of the travel industry (seaside, mountain, rural, urban, luxury, business, etc.). It states, in particular, that responsible tourism must be “sustainable in the long term ecologically, economically viable and ethically and socially equitable for local populations”.

To be entirely “responsible”, this form of tourism encompasses three practices:

the tourism fair which contributes to the economic development and vitality of local communities, by involving the local economy, a just and stable partner compensation, decent working conditions, knowledge exchange and best practice,
the sustainable tourism in order to preserve long-term natural, cultural and social resources,
the participatory tourism that fosters a genuine encounter and equals between travelers and local people.
More and more tourism specialists are offering “responsible” trips, some even accessible to RMCs. However, there is currently no logo, neither European nor even less global, to label such trips. Each protagonist of the tourism industry having his. It is therefore useful to analyze beforehand all the ins and outs of the trip that is proposed to you.

Responsible tourism and Sustainable Tourism
Responsible tourism is regarded as a behaviour. It is more than a form of tourism as it represents an approach to engaging with tourism, be that as a tourist, a business, locals at a destination or any other tourism stakeholder. It emphasizes that all stakeholders are responsible for the kind of tourism they develop or engage in. Whilst different groups will see responsibility in different ways, the shared understanding is that responsible tourism should entail an improvement in tourism. Tourism should become ‘better’ as a result of the responsible tourism approach

Within the notion of betterment resides the acknowledgement that conflicting interests need to be balanced. However, the objective is to create better places for people to live in and to visit. Importantly, there is no blueprint for responsible tourism: what is deemed responsible may differ depending on places and cultures. Responsible Tourism is an aspiration that can be realized in different ways in different originating markets and in the diverse destinations of the world (Goodwin, 2002).

Focusing in particular on businesses, according to the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism, it will have the following characteristics:

minimises negative economic, environmental, and social impacts
generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of host communities, improves working conditions and access to the industry
involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances
makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, to the maintenance of the world’s diversity
provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues
provides access for people with disabilities and
is culturally sensitive, engenders respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence.
Sustainable tourism is where tourists can enjoy their holiday and at the same time respect the culture of people and also respect the environment. It also means that local people (such as the Masaai) get a fair say about tourism and also receive some money from the profit which the game reserve make. The environment is being damaged quite a lot by tourists and part of Sustainable tourism is to make sure that the damaging does not carry on.

There are many private companies who are working into embracing the principles and aspects of Responsible Tourism, some for the purpose of Corporate Social Responsibility activities have built their entire business model around responsible tourism, local capacity building and increasing market access for small and medium tourism enterprises.

Practical examples of gentle tourism
Exemplary offers of gentle tourism are:

Themed hiking trails, which make it possible to experience protected areas with hidden observation stations through clever visitor guidance.
Barefoot paths that provide an original nature contact and health benefits.
Swing golf courses, which are a simplified golf game variant and developed by local initiatives on their own
Guided snowshoe tours, which is an ecologically more compatible variant of winter sports in sensitive mountain regions than the elaborate provision of technical winter sports with ski lifts, snow groomers and energetically problematic snow cannons.
Farm shops that trade in locally produced foods.

Economic impact

Community-based tourism
Community-based tourism (CBT) is a form of sustainable development where small, rural communities set up accommodation & activities to generate tourism. CBT allows travelers to experience life in such communities—taking part in language or cooking lessons, eating freshly-prepared meals, experiencing local music and dance, and venturing with a local guide to nearby nature/landscape attractions—while the community gains much-needed revenue. NGOs and aid organizations (like the U.S. Peace Corps) help villages establish CBT facilities, organize appropriate activities, and establish governance of the project to ensure that revenue is shared with the community. Local villagers earn money for providing homestay accommodation, becoming guides, providing lessons, growing extra produce, and creating art/crafts for sale, while a portion of revenue (20-50%) is typically reserved in a community fund that can be used to improve the CBT experience or be used for development purposes. The number of CBT projects is growing. CBT is established in Central America, Central Asia, & many countries in Africa; countries with well-established CBT projects are Guatemala, Costa Rica, Kyrgyzstan, Ghana, & Uganda.

Travelers who participate in CBT will typically book a package online for a stay of one day to one week. Bookings are handled by someone in the community, not a commercial tour operator. Accommodation is simple but sufficient by Western standards, with a private room, bed, telephone access, and a private bathroom (don’t expect a toilet & shower, but at least an enclosed room with a hole in the ground and water…you should not be left to do your business outdoors or in a grotesque community toilet). Food will consist of local snacks, lunches, and at least one meal will be a smorgasbord of local dishes to taste (a dozen or so dishes are prepared, but it’s there for everyone to share). Travelers can take lessons from locals in activities such as cooking, drumming, singing, dancing, body-painting, hunting/fishing (traditional methods), native medicines, or playing a traditional game with some of the village children or elders. A local guide will be able to take you to nearby attractions, like waterfalls or rainforest, or walk along trails or ride horseback. In some communities and especially during longer stays, travelers may have the opportunity to volunteer on development projects.

Cultural impact


Indigenous Tourism
In the development of many tourism projects, indigenous people have not been considered as valued stakeholders from the start. In the worst cases, they are not listened to in the development of ‘charitable’ projects. Adequate consultation is a must.

Indigenous peoples manage more than 40% of all IUCN-recognized protected areas in the world, and many of them – if not most – use tourism as a complement their economic benefits from these areas. Yet the challenge for travelers is finding which communities wish to be visited and with which protocols. In 2012 the Global Workshop for Indigenous and Local Communities: Biodiversity, Tourism and the Social Web took place at the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Environmental impact

Carbon emissions

While nearly all forms of transport a traveler uses will release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, aircraft are especially notorious offenders and the aviation industry is the fastest-growing contributor to the acceleration of climate change. This is not just due to the vast distances traveled, but because they release greenhouse gases high in the atmosphere where their effects are more potent. On long-haul flights, the amount of carbon dioxide released is roughly equivalent to a car traveling the same distance with one passenger. A flight from London, UK to Perth, Australia releases the equivalent of 4.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide, or about half the average yearly emissions of a person in the U.K. Shorter flights have higher emissions than longer ones per km traveled due to the amount of fuel used taxiing, and during take off.

The benefits of travel in increasing an individual’s cultural awareness and knowledge are immeasurable. Despite its effects, air travel is essential to the modern world and traveling. There are ways in which individuals wanting to travel responsibly can offset their impact on the environment. For example, they can use an airline that has been rated more environmentally aware or they can use carbon offset schemes. These schemes collect money which is transferred to projects, like installing renewable energy or planting trees, which generate zero/low-carbon energy or reduce levels of greenhouse gasses. By purchasing carbon offset “credits” through these schemes, travelers are investing in portions of projects which, over their lifespan, will reduce/eliminate carbon emissions (through the burning of fossil fuels) equivalent to the amount emitted on their flight. Reputable carbon offset schemes are independently verified and adhere to an international standard for measuring offset emissions.

Carbon offset can be calculated & purchased by individuals, through an agency like ClimateCare, or through your carrier. Airlines offering carbon offset programs for their passengers include: British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, easyJet, Lufthansa, Qantas, & United Airlines.

Responsible travel guide

Prepare yourself
When leaving the house:

Turn off heaters, water heaters, boilers, and other water heaters. (If there is a risk that the pipes will freeze, turn on the water heater at least instead of turning it off).
Turn off the water supply. This ensures that you will not find the house flooded if there is an escape while no one is home.
Turn off all lights.
Turn off TVs, DVDs, and other devices that continue to spend power on standby.

Tips for Sustainable Travel: Social Aspects
Travel prices from 400 € or even less for a week all-inclusive with hotel & flight. How does it work, what is behind it?

The story – bargain holiday Turkey – sun, beach and cheap wages “from the ARD threw in 2012, a look behind the scenes of the Turkish Riviera and promoted terrifying conditions.

Who as a tourist such conditions do not want to support, found in the guide “Sustainability in Tourism – Guide through the label jungle” clues on what certificates he can pay attention to book a social but also environmentally friendly trip. The advisor of the Naturfreunde Internationale (Working Group Tourism & Development)

Arriving and Circular
Cars are the most polluting means of transportation, and so they are out of the question. Apart from this, you have several options: airplanes – which also pollute a lot, and therefore should also be excluded, unless you are traveling very large distances – buses and trains – the best choice, especially electric trains.

Within a city the best options are the metro – because it is electric – and buses – especially trams, already available in some cities in the world, such as Quebec, Atlanta and Viana do Castelo. Better than this, even walking – although this is difficult in large cities, in small towns where tourist attractions are concentrated in a relatively small area, there is no better mode of transportation. Another option is the rental of a hybrid or electric car, although few of these are available for hire. Trams are another great option with zero CO2 emissions.

Tips for Sustainable Travel: Climate & Environmental Protection
Use of environmentally friendly transport – see article Traveling by train, traveling by bicycle, traveling by bus, use of a fuel-efficient car
Combine business and private travel – just spend a week vacationing if possible – that protects the wallet and the environment. The flight ticket has already paid the boss. Since you can with the saved z. B. make a better hotel.
Traveling together in the car – If you are traveling alone or as a couple, you might even invite friends or a friendly couple. Then not only the car is economically well used (saves travel costs), but you also have conversation partners for the long drive. In a station wagon you usually get the luggage for 4 people without any problems.
Gentle mobility at the resort – See article Alpine Pearls.
CO2 compensation – Although the CO2 compensation is criticized by some experts as a “modern indulgence trade”, so the purchase of a certificate for your own vacation flight helps more than just to calm your own conscience. The organizations receive urgently needed donations through the trade, for example to be able to support developing countries to build a sustainable energy supply with the help of renewable energies.

Targeted booking of environmentally friendly accommodation – eg: is solar heating and electricity generated? The hotel respects energy saving and conservation of resources (eg energy saving lamps can be found in the rooms, the towels are only changed as needed, is regional organic cuisine on offer, etc.) If there is great demand for eco-friendly hotels there is also served.
Consumption of regional, sustainably produced products from the travel region and / or stop in the appropriate catering trade – Thus one not only tastes the travel region, but also does something similar for the regional economy of place and for the climate, since long transport ways for food are saved can.

See and Do
Do not use disposable cameras, the quality is bad and it is creating unnecessary waste. Advise yourself on a photo shop or a photo book to find out which camera fits your needs best – be digital, spend less paper.

Many species are threatened because they are killed specifically for tourist trade. Starfish and coral in coastal regions and elephants in Africa (to get ivory) are good examples. Do not buy animal products when they were killed just to serve as a tourist souvenir, or if it is a threatened species.

Eat & Drink
If you go to a supermarket do not buy canned or packaged food – because of the garbage – and buy products from the country you are in – the distance to transport the food is lower, so the truck emits less CO2.

Certain foods are against the ecological spirit. Eating meat from young animals (for example, small sardines are a very popular dish in Portugal) is inadvisable because they have not yet grown to ensure the replacement of the generations. Species at risk of extinction, which are very popular in some countries (cod, popular in several countries, or gorilla meat, which is popular in certain African countries).

Find hotels and resorts that encourage ecology: ecologically designed to take advantage of wind and light, supports species protection programs, use of rainwater, etc. Some sites have ecological hotel listings, such as and .

Of course, turn everything off when you leave your room.

When you get home, do not print all the pictures, especially if you take them on a digital camera. Print only the best or do not print them – leave them in your computer’s memory or save to a CD.

Labels about sustainable travel
Blue Flag (Blue Flag, Pavillon bleu): the blue flag in each case with the current year blows at beaches and marinas, which meets the requirements of the organization Blue Flag regarding information on environmental protection, water quality, environmental management and safetyand has established itself as a quality label for the sustainable management of bathing beaches and marinas on many beaches. The focus is on a controlled at least sufficient water quality, sustainable management under environmental aspects (cleanliness, wastewater treatment, availability and cleanliness of sanitary facilities), a uniform signage with pictograms and the provision of a minimum security resp. Rescue infrastructure.

The first beaches were flagged in France in 1985 with the Blue Flag, since 2001, countries outside of Europe participate in the program.

Even though the criteria such as water quality and frequency of inspections are still criticized as being too low, the awarding of the Blue Flag to exemplary, sustainably managed beaches has in many places led to a rethinking of beach managers and tourism managers, as the sewage treatment before discharge into the sea and the Waste management including separation and setting up an emergency organization in several Mediterranean countries have become the subject.
On the website, the beaches can be accessed on a map or by means of country / region search, partly additional information is available on the beaches.

Source from Wikipedia