Tuesday, 4 November 2008
More and more people are becoming tired of mass tourism and as well as relaxing on their holiday, would also like to learn and to benefit the local people and the environment whilst they are doing so.
Responsible Travel has been helping people to do just that. Since 2001 they have been "handpicking inspiring holidays from all over the globe to give you a fantastic experience and make a real difference to local people and the environment." They link up travellers with the operators and destinations which provide responsible holidays.
They now offer 3000 holidays in 160 countries with 250 activities. Through the website you can search for the type of holiday you would like and then get in touch directly with the tour operator or the owner of the accommodation. You can feel safe in the knowledge that all those listed on the site have been screened as being 'responsible'.
The operators and accommodation owners are screened for their social, environmental and economic policies before their holidays can be promoted on the site. Travellers also give feedback and reviews on the holidays that they have been on.
The whole idea of responsible tourism, as I mentioned at the beginning, is to bring the travellers in contact with the local people and culture. Groups tend to be small, rather than a faceless mass, and people employed as guides and escorts are local so that there can be real contact between the cultures and local income can be generated.
Responsible travellers are people who are interested in the authenticity of the experience and not in a 'packaged experience'. They want to really learn about the local people and way of life and, in turn, give something back, economically, socially and environmentally.
If this interests you in any way, then a visit to the Responsible Travel site is well worth it, where you can also subscribe to their newsletter. On the site, their is a comment from Michael Palin which I think puts it quite succinctly. "Getting to know more about each other remains one of the most important hopes for the peaceful future of the planet. If we are really to understand each other better, then we need to be reminded to travel carefully and thoughtfully, listening to people along the way and respecting the world we are privileged to travel through."