Travelling is an inevitable part of a person’s life. Even the most lethargic person would have to travel at some point in his life, either voluntarily our out of necessity. ‘Civilization’ itself depends on people travelling.
Tourism is an activity that would become non-existent if people stopped travelling. People should travel more, tour the whole wide world and experience all the different lifestyles and activities they never thought existed.
Although travelling is important, a person’s main focus should be on doing it sustainably. Over the years, technological advancements and human greed have been contaminating the earth, both literally and otherwise. We have been irresponsible in almost everything we have done and sadly tourism also falls into that bracket.
We started felling trees, littering the precious land with garbage, particularly with polyethene covers and other such non-recyclable materials. We have been ignorant and disrespectful to the various diverse communities and life forms that exist on this earth.
But time heals everything if we take the right steps. Like the responsible fashion industry, the concept of responsible tourism kick started in the 80’s. But unlike the former, this was no fad. It was rather a step taken by concerned environmentalists in order to ensure that the groundwork is laid for future generations to understand the importance of responsible conservation.
Responsible tourism is one where travellers have a positive impact on the environment and the society. The positive impact involves using resources judiciously and refraining from using harmful materials, chiefly plastic. While touring responsibly, people try to adopt sustainable alternatives be it for travelling, cooking or resting. This type of tourism also focuses on helping people who live in the lower echelons of society, promoting local and regional arts and crafts. Travellers get to experience the lifestyle of the indigenous tribal people, interact with them and live life like they do during their stay with them.
Responsible tourism involves travelling to rural destinations, heritage sites and wildlife sanctuaries, all done in a sustainable manner. You get to stay in homes that are made from mud and brick by hand. They are decorated using recycled and upcycled products.
Sustainable tourism is also a development strategy by which third world countries can profit. Responsible tourists prefer handmade, local crafts rather than mass produced products. The touring companies too, source most of the materials from the locals, providing them with a liveable source of income. This industry helps the underserved not through charity but rather through business and employment. In many heritage sites, the locals are trained to perform various tasks. Outsiders are rarely hired. This helps the local population lead a more dignified life.