Tourism is increasing at a very fast pace around the world and millions of people are flocking to some of the most beautiful destinations around the world. It brings revenue to the respective countries and helps tourists in gaining access to some of the scenic places in the world.
However, an increase in the number of tourists isn’t necessarily a good sign for these destinations. Sometimes, the ecological balance of these destinations is disrupted by tourists. Therefore, we need to think about responsible tourism.
Tourism: Sustainable and responsible
2017 was declared as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the UN. This is because over the past few years, tourism has grown so exponentially that it has contributed to pollution and disruption of balance in the tourist destinations.
The idea of sustainable tourism is to ensure that we enjoy everything that a tourism destination has to offer without making a significant impact on the natural and social environment of that place. Tourism should help in enhancing the local economic needs of a destination without disturbing the cultural integrity.
How to be a responsible tourist?
In order to make tourism more responsible, it is better to know about the linguistic and cultural norms about the destination you are travelling in. For example, it is a common norm in Middle Eastern countries to dress conservatively. Also, you may be expected to dine on different tables if you are a group of men and women.
In most South Asian and South East Asian cultures, dressing conservatively is a better option. You should also be mindful of the religious symbols and signs of a culture or you may end up offending locals. In Thailand, you should be very mindful when handling images of the royals. This is not only frowned upon but could even land you in jail.
As a responsible tourist, you must also ensure that you do not pollute a place. Make sure that you don’t litter. Some tourists believe that they could do anything that they want because they are in a foreign place and no one knows them. While it may sound like fun, it isn’t for the local community. So, you must ensure that you are doing your bit to leave the environment undisturbed.
What about crowded places?
Some destinations are more popular than others- hosting millions of people each year, especially during the peak season. Such huge influx of people in a particular area could put unnecessary pressure on the region’s resources. It would be vital to go to places which have less tourist influx.
If you go to these destinations, you will be helping develop many new tourist destinations. These places will be able to develop much more easily and more sustainably as well. Moreover, there could be a more even distribution of tourists around the world. Isn’t this a better idea?
Do you think you are a responsible tourist that helps in maintaining the sustainability of your favorite tourist destinations? If yes, let me know how you do it in the comments below.