Whether it’s a break in the sun or walking in a wild national park, find out more about your holiday destination and its local environment, traditions, and cultures before you set off. Then you can make smarter choices to benefit yourself and the environment, people and destinations you visit.
There are many ways to plan a trip, from a travel agency to visiting dedicated travel websites. Many independent travelers, travel agencies and tour operators use words and expressions such as ‘sustainable’, ‘responsible’, ‘green’, ‘eco’, ‘smart’, ‘slow’, ‘pro-poor’, ‘fair trade’ and ‘ethical tourism’.
This may seem confusing, but the broad objective is the same: to provide fulfilling holidays for travelers while protecting the environment and contributing to the economic and social development of the people, cultures and destinations they visit.
For more information about the different types of tourism, download the Responsible Travel Guide:
Choosing a Destination - What to look for and why
• Give preference to places that have demonstrated responsible practices. This includes their human rights and environmental conservation records, commitment to peace, etc. You can check with Ethical Traveller about this at www.ethicaltraveller.org
• Consider paying a little more for your holiday if that means fair wages for the people working in your hotel and conservation initiatives for communities
• Make sure your money is well spent by choosing a tour operator/hotel/provider committed to sustainable tourism. Always ask questions about transport, accommodation, staff working conditions, gender equality, waste treatment and environmental protection policy
• Prefer accommodation and transport providers that demonstrate efficient and sustainable management of energy, waste and water
• Look for websites specializing in responsible travel, ecotourism, or sustainable tourism. The Rainforest Alliance’s Eco-Index of Sustainable Tourism (www.eco-indextourism.org/en/home) and Smart Voyager (http://www.ccd.org.ec/pages/turismo_en.htm) are good examples
• Before booking your authentic homestay experience, you should ensure that a substantial percentage of the money you pay will go back to the community in which you will be staying.
There’s no better way to really discover a country than by staying amongst its people and experiencing their lives and culture first hand!