What is responsible tourism?
Responsible tourism is about making a positive contribution whilst travelling.
You can do this by:
- Considering the needs and interests of the local people and contributing to their income.
- Supporting community-based tourism initiatives.
- Respecting the differences between your culture and that of the local people
- Appreciating the lack of resources and being careful with the use of water and electricity.
- Supporting projects that work on the conservation of natural resources and refusing those that don't work on a responsible tourism market.
We know that terms and definitions of responsible tourism and similar types of tourism are widely used and sometimes even abused. To give you some more insight in the different terms and definitions we have created a small glossary. When you read one of these terms somewhere while travelling, realise that it doesn't always mean travel agencies are practising this kind of tourism, but they may just be using it for marketing purposes. Please be critical before you sign up for one of their tours.
- Community based tourism
- Cultural tourism
- Cultural heritage tourism
- Fairtrade tourism
- Integrated and diffuse tourism
- Propoor tourism
- Rural tourism
- Sustainable tourism
Community based tourism involves various activities, from a private company wishing to develop its relationship with the poorest communities up to a national program whose goal is to make these communities participate at all levels.
Cultural tourism (or culture tourism) is the subset of tourism concerned with a country or region's culture, especially its arts. It generally focuses on traditional communities who has diverse customs, unique form of art and distinct social practices, which basically distinguishes it from other types/forms of tourism.
Cultural heritage tourism (or just heritage tourism) is a branch of tourism oriented towards the cultural heritage of the location where tourism is occurring.
Ecotourism is responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.
Fairtrade tourism is inspired by fair trade principles. It focuses more particularly on the participation of host communities in democratic decision making, in eco-friendly production systems and in fair wages for local services.
Greenwashing is a form of public relations propaganda which gives something the appearance of being environmentally friendly when it is, in fact, not.
Integrated and diffuse tourism is a local development initiative from the local populations who wish to share with the visitors their daily life in the village, and to participate altogether in the local development.
Propoor tourism is tourism that results in increased net benefits for poor people.
Rural tourismallows travelers to visit areas outside of urban areas. Options include hiking and biking, visiting community museums and buying crafts.
Sustainable tourism is economically, socio-culturally and environmentally sustainable. With sustainable tourism, socio-cultural and environmental impacts are neither permanent nor irreversible.
Sources: Wikepedia, Coventry University, Madieng Seck, Planeta and TIES