Tourists are more and more numerous and mobile. If tourism can bring life to many parts of the world, mass tourism is today a scourge for the environment and the people.
Global warming, pollution, the globalization of cultures and the saturation of tourist sites are the main consequences. This is why it is necessary to move towards a more responsible tourism. But are we really ready to travel differently? Nothing is less sure.
Sustainable tourism, responsible
Today, there are many forms of alternative tourism to mass tourism. When we talk about sustainable tourism and responsible tourism, we talk about two fairly similar notions.
Sustainable tourism is defined by the World Tourism Organization as a form of tourism “that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, responding to the needs of visitors, professionals, the environment and the environment. host communities “.
Responsible tourism is defined as a voluntary approach by the traveler or the tour operator. Overall, the idea is to travel in a way that respects the environment and the people, and to minimize its impact on destinations.
How to become a responsible traveler?
Do not worry, no need to embark on a humanitarian mission from your next stay! Being a responsible traveler means adopting a few simple reflexes.
Reduce its carbon footprint, better respect host populations, develop local commerce… every detail counts when one wants to change one’s behavior. Learn local language is a great way to contribute with local economy. For example, if visiting Spain, try a Spanish school in Barcelona!
To begin, we advise you to respect the three pillars of sustainable development, and therefore:
Act in favor of the environment: to sort and reduce its waste, to save water and energy, to use soft modes of transport, to respect the fauna and the flora, to ban the tourist activities participating in the animal cruelty (stroll on elephants, swimming with sharks, zoos etc.)
Promote the local economy: buy local products, prefer organic and committed restaurants, promote short circuits and reducing intermediaries, choose professionals involved in responsible tourism (travel agencies, accommodation etc.), learn about the limits of bargaining.
Respect the local population and culture: learn about the lifestyles, heritage and religion of the inhabitants before leaving, learn some words of local’s language, ask permission before taking a picture, pay attention to dress and adopt a behavior adapted to the place, do not impose your own habits.
How to join a sustainable approach as a professional?
As you can see, sustainable tourism is not just about cycling, sleeping under the stars, or going on a humanitarian mission. It also means integrating sustainable development issues into the entire tourism sector. This is why tourism stakeholders have every interest in offering a responsible tourism offer. For this, we strongly advise them:
Develop and follow the standards: this will validate its approach through a certification of the responsible management system. For example, with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards applied to tourism.
Watch information: to be curious and to see what is done on other scales and in other territories. You need to be aware of news about responsible tourism.
Learn: many associations related to sustainable tourism offer training for professionals. Among them, the association Act for Responsible Tourism (ATR).
Be certified or labeled: labels and certifications are proof of commitment and means of recognition and valuation. Many responsible labels exist: European Ecolabel, Green Key, Green Globe, Panda Lodging, Green Station etc.
Collaborate: with professionals and service providers involved in responsible tourism.
Raise visitors’ awareness: it is important to inform them about the best practices to adopt in order to encourage them to behave in an eco-responsible way.
Some examples of initiatives for responsible tourism
Initiatives are already being developed to move towards more sustainable tourism. For example, more and more destinations are trying to educate visitors.
In practice, there are many solutions for developing sustainable tourism. But we must recognize that it is difficult to behave in a fully responsible way. And, let’s be realistic, sustainable tourism is linked to everyone’s behavior. If for some travelers, the environment is a concern, it will not be for others.
What kind of traveler are you?