Happy World Responsible Tourism Day!

Today is World Responsible Tourism Day – the day honoring efforts to make sure tourism serves destination communities along with travelers and tourism businesses.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve already caught on that the global tourism industry isn’t always good to destinations and the people who live there. Tourism can disregard or disrespect local residents and cause financial, environmental, and cultural harm to their communities. It’s not great for savvy tourists, either, who’d rather local residents and culture not be objectified and exploited for us.

A small segment of the industry is pushing what’s called responsible or sustainable tourism. I’m sure there’s some distinction between the two, but basically they’re trying to:

  1. minimize tourism’s negative impact to the environment;
  2. preserve a destination’s socio-cultural distinctiveness;
  3. promote economic advancement for local people; and
  4. treat a destination’s residents with respect (like by including them in decision-making that will affect them!)

I’ve also started to see a push for conscious tourism, which incorporates the above along with more meaningful connection between tourists and local communities.

There are a lot of great organizations out there working towards responsible tourism. I started to list a couple, but I couldn’t decide where to stop! There are just too many worth including. To find them and learn more about this movement, just Google “responsible tourism,” “sustainable tourism,” and “conscious tourism.”

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