INDIA: While traveling, if we are just a bit more responsible, it can go a long way in protecting the environment and supporting local communities, while also continuing to enjoy traveling. With development and innovation making travel easier and simpler, more and more people have become travelers. It is worth mentioning here that had the novel coronavirus not hit the global way of life, an estimated 1.5 billion people would have traveled in the year 2020.
Before talking about responsible tourism, let us check if we are aware of the actual meaning of the word RESPONSIBLE.
What is responsible travel?
Travel has both a positive and negative impact on the environment and various communities, and hence a traveler and also the travel industry operators must behave more responsibly so as to have a positive impact on the environment as well as local economies. Responsible tourism is about being socially and culturally aware when you travel, understand the effects of your travel on the places you visit, and try to have a positive impact.
Read Also: The Traveler’s Pandemic
How to be a Responsible Tourist
Everyone has a responsibility to be responsible. The centre and state governments, locals, service providers, and tourists have to come together, everybody has to pitch in. Here are a few points which you can practice to make yourself a RESPONSIBLE traveler, one who takes the initiative to be responsible:
- Try to shop and eat local as much as possible to support small and family-run businesses.
- Volunteer some of your time, services by teaching kids to learn a new language, help the poor, needy, or orphaned, or donate money to good causes in the areas you are visiting.
- Avoid using plastic single-use bags, straws, or containers.
- Reduce your carbon footprint by carrying less luggage, using public transportation (train, metro line, or bus), etc.
- Respect the local culture, customs, and maintain proper dress codes.
- Choose sustainable local tour operators and stay in sustainable accommodations that will help the local communities, and provide them with jobs.
- Engage with the locals.
- Always hire a local guide and support local culture.
- Don’t support animal tourism and do not promote animal cruelty like dolphin shows, pictures with tigers or other wild cats, riding elephants, camels, horses, etc.
- Stay with the locals in a village or a homestay instead of a hotel.