Travel is not a right, it is a privilege and it comes attached with certain responsibilities. ‘Responsible Tourism’ is not just how responsibly we all act and conduct ourselves while travelling, it is also a gateway to achieve sustainability in tourism.
Responsibility to sustain tourism is not confined only to the traveller, but also on the Government, Travel Trade organisations and the local community. All these stakeholders have to act responsibly in their own spheres to:
– safeguard the environment
– to pass on the economic benefit to local community and
– to protect the social structure & culture of the destination.
A Responsible Traveller:
• does not treat the world as his personal playground
• remembers that the place where he visits is a place where people live, work and follow local customs and culture
• ensures that the money that he spends preferably goes to a local rather than to an outsider
• treats travel as his personal journey and does not rate the success of his trip on the number of likes and comments &
• preferably travels to a destination in low season when there are fewer crowds and less strain on environment.
A Responsible Government:
• formulates policies to maximize social & economic benefits to the local communities, to conserve natural resources, to protect heritage and to sensitize people about Responsible Tourism.
A Responsible Travel Trade organisation:
• respects the ethics and principles of responsible tourism and follows the STCI norms in letter and spirit, and
A Responsible Local community:
• volunteers for sustained development of tourism and acts to preserve their cultural and social values and protect their economic interests.
Responsible tourism is a global responsibility and therefore every person in this world has to act responsibly.
Responsible tourism in India has started taking deeper roots, however, it is time that all stakeholders worked together and created an ‘Ecosystem of Responsible tourism’ in the Country.
It was my pleasure to participate and address at the International Conference on ‘Responsible Tourism Practices in India: Issues and Challenges’ organised by Pondicherry University at Puducherry.
It was also a pleasure to meet the Global Expert on Responsible Tourism Dr. Harold Goodwin, Emeritus Professor, IPM, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.