Becoming a Responsible Tourist
Be not just a tourist or a traveller, BE A RESPONSIBLE ONE and make a difference.
Travelling has become a trend. Because of low-cost carriers offering promo flights, people nowadays are given equal opportunity to travel. The advent of social media also became a visual encouragement to the larger population to explore.
Travelling has a lot of advantages, but we cannot deny the fact that it also has unfavourable effects on the places we visit. Unfavourable impacts are often overlooked both by locals and tourists.
It is easy to become a tourist but being a RESPONSIBLE tourist can be a challenge. Anyone can acquire a plane ticket, book a hotel, and go on a tour as long as s/he has money to pay. The welfare of the locals only comes next, the welfare of the environment, most of the time, is neglected.
Responsible tourism is about “making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit.” It hopes to minimize (if not eradicate) negative economic, environmental and social impacts of travels. (source: responsibletourismpartnership.org)
This article aims to promote responsible tourism and give some tips on how to become a responsible tourist.
Respect the place.
And what is the best way to respect the place? By reducing your plastic footprints.
Let us all try our very best to NOT add to the plastic problem all over the world. Look at what happened to Boracay. The government had to close the island just so it could recuperate from the damages brought by irresponsible tourism. We hope the pollution to the waters of Boracay will not happen to the beautiful island of Calaguas, or to any other island of the Philippine archipelago.
There are a lot of ways to minimize plastic pollution and some of them are so simple that we no longer give them some thoughts. Three of the easiest ways to do in reducing our plastic wastes are as follows:
a.) Don’t buy one-use water bottles. This is not only helpful to the environment but also economical. The cheapest bottle of water is ₱25. Imagine the regular jeepney fare is just ₱8. So for a bottle of water, you can already ride a jeepney 3 times! Also, the plastic bottle just ends up in a landfill or in the ocean. Pack a reusable water container when you travel and just refill whenever there’s a chance – in your hostel, restaurant, or even streams when you go hiking!
b.) Stay away from single-use plastic bags. Common, you’re a tourist, a visitor. You do not own the place. Do you mess up the house you’re visiting? If you prefer calling yourself a backpacker, then, by all means, take your daypack wherever you go, even if you just have to run some errands.
c.) Wet wipes are convenient, but they contain non-biodegradable plastics such as polyester. It could take up to 100 years for a piece to break down. Please, stop using them. You can simply bring mini towels and wet them when you need one.
Respect the people.
Again, when you travel, you are just a visitor in the place. If you visit indigenous villages or small communities in the rural areas it would be better to always ask permission before taking photos of the people. They are not exhibits in a museum. They are normal folks who deserve to be respected the way you expect others to respect you. Involve them in decisions that can affect their lives.
When buying local products and crafts, be fair. Do not haggle so low that you end up almost getting items for free. Imagine the countless hours the locals spent in crafting or creating the items. Pay what the item is worth, and be happy to contribute to the local economies and well-being of host communities as much as possible.
Respect the culture.
Before you visit a place, it would be good to understand a little bit of its local culture. Most of the locals belong to indigenous cultural groups that are native to a particular region. Instead of bringing outside influence, make some positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage for better maintenance of their culture and tradition. Be sensitive and respectful while establishing meaningful connections. Be one of the catalysts for building local pride and confidence.
There are already a lot of travellers who explore and exploit places, be not one of them. Be the difference you want to see in our weary world.
Thank you for dropping by!
- For more virtual and interactive live updates, you can check our INSTAGRAM PAGE or follow us on TWITTER.
- Be part of Love. Eat. Wander. Facebook Community Page for more updates, travel and parenting tips, or if you want to share your trip/parenting experiences with others. You can also visit our YouTube Channel for videos.
Should you want to add/dispute something in this article, please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!