What is Responsible Tourism?
We asked, we googled, we researched, we pondered, and here’s what we got –
- “Leave no trace”
- “Take back photographs and leave behind only footprints”
- Responsible Tourism is tourism ‘that creates better places for people to live in, and better places to visit’
- It minimizes negative economic, environmental and social impacts
- It generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well being of host communities
- It involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances
- It makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage embracing diversity
- It provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues
- It is culturally sensitive, encourages respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence
What is listed above is also more or less of what the industry experts, philanthropists, philosophers and tour operators, thought and debated about to come up with their views on responsible tourism.
However, we think that at some level, this picture is still incomplete.
You see, at the core of all travels, is the traveler. And if the traveler is never responsible, how can tourism, ever be called a responsible endeavor?
Are you a backpacker, a trekker, a mountaineer, an off-roader, or a family that is traveling? Are you on a honeymoon or an expedition? Are you traveling for health or for spirituality? Or are you a wanderer?
What ever be your travel avatar, are you conscious about being a responsible traveler?
You have heard them say, “It takes two to tango!” Well, in this case it takes two to be responsible (at the cost of sounding clichéd, but if you may)!
As operators, we feel it is our responsibility to operate well within the defined norms of ‘responsible tourism’. However, we also feel that as travelers, you need to travel more responsibly.
And so on tours that we organize, it is not only us but also you, who partake in sharing the responsibility on two basic levels –
- The Social Factor – We engage local support. It goes a long way in helping us with logistics, the weather, the local road conditions in remote areas etc. It gives us the advantage of an extensive social network at the grass root level. Helps us get the work done! This also gives a boost to the local economy. And not just that. Your interaction with them is but a process of two different cultures understanding each other. Your understanding of how it works for them. Their understanding of how it works for you. You get new information, so do they. Boundaries disappear, and the world just becomes a small cozy place to live in as one realizes that no matter how different the cultures, we are yet the same.
- The Environmental Factor – Be it practicing a Leave No Trace policy, getting back the waste for proper disposal from our treks or expeditions. Be it observing the laws of the jungle, respecting birds and animals, understanding that it is their (animal) territory and not our (human) territory while on a wildlife safari. We guide you through the right approach and methods and instill in you an awareness and sensitivity towards the environment.
In a lot of different ways the above two factors manifest themselves in what happens on our expeditions, treks, tours and safaris. But what we are really glad about is that it’s not just us alone, but also you who are a part of that manifestation.