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Tips for responsible travellers

We may not all be responsible. We are often not responsible in the same ways. We might not be responsible
all of the time, but we all have a responsibility! However, lets not get too worthy about it - being responsible is
about getting a little bit more out of your travels and about putting a little bit back. 

A few thoughts for the responsible traveller…

Read up on the countries you plan to visit – the welcome will be warmer if you take an interest and
speak even a few words of the local language 
Think small when booking a holiday – for example bed and breakfasts, village houses and locally
owned accommodation benefit local families 
Travel like Ghandi - with simple clothes, open eyes and an uncluttered mind 
Ask to see your tour operator's responsible travel policy 
Help the local economy of developing countries by buying local produce in preference to imported
goods 
If bargaining to buy an item, bear in mind that a small amount to you could be extemely important to the
seller 
Realise that often the people in the country you are visiting have different time concepts and thought
patterns from your own, this does not make them inferior, only different 
Instead of the western practice of knowing all the answers, cultivate the habit of asking questions and
discover the enrichment of seeing a different way of life through others eyes 
Use public transport, hire a bike or walk where convenient – you'll meet local people and get to know
the place 
Remember that man travels the world in search of what he needs and returns home to find it 
Use water sparingly – it is precious in many countries and the local people may not have sufficient clean water 
Find out where the locals go when they have time off. Visit the main sites but get off the tourist trail too 
Don't discard litter, take it home with you. Waste disposal is a major expense in poorer countries 
Respect for local cultures, traditions and holy places earns you respect. For example, ask
permission before you photograph local people – in some countries it can cause offence 
Spend time reflecting on your daily experience in an attempt to deepen your understanding. It has
been said that what enriches you may rob and violate others 
Do not buy products made from endangered species, hard woods, shells from beach traders, or ancient artefacts 
Pack small gifts from home as gifts for your hosts - ask your tour operator to ask the local community what would be of most use to them 
If you really want your experience to be a 'home away from home' it is foolish to waste money on travelling 
When you get home drop your tour operator a note to let them know how you got on  

Some tour operators control destination-based accommodation and transport, employ overseas staff, import
food, and provide all inclusive holidays during which guests never leave the hotel - this means that up to 75% of
the cost of some holidays stays in the country of origin rather than benefiting local people in some of the
world's poorest countries. 

Too often tourists are unaware of the iompacts of their behaviour on sensitive local cultures. While it is your
holiday it is somebody elses home. Tourism developments can pollute the environment, and use vast
quantities of precious resources such as water and firewood. Sadly, tourist trade in endangered species,
hardwoods, and ancient artefects threatens our natural and cultural heritage. 

Tourism is like fire - you can cook your dinner on it, or it can burn your house down. Anon, Asia

Responsible travel is about more enjoyable and authentic holidays that maximise the benefits to local
communities, minimise any negative social or environmental impacts of tourism, and help local people to
conserve fragile cultures and habitats/species. 

Tourists are increasing getting fed up with pre-packaged, over sanitised hoildays that provide few opportunities to meet local people on their terms, or to enjoy wildlife and the environment without feeling like they are contributing to its destruction. Responsible travel provides equitable exchanges of culture, respect and wisdom with local people. It is about a warmer welcome from local people who are benefiting from tourism; about providing visitors with better insights into local environments and cultures through the knowledge of local guides; and about knowing that income from your visit will help local communities to conserve the special places, cultures and wildlife that you
have enjoyed as a visitor. 

Being a responsible traveller need not be difficult or dull! It is really simply a matter of thinking of yourself as being a guest. Travelling responsibly can be as simple as respecting local traditions and religions, learning a few words of the local language, and asking permission before you photograph local people. Traveling with respect earns you respect 

All our industry members have met at least the minimum social, economic and environmental criteria required
by responsibletravel.com, and in some cases exceeded them 

Venezuela is among the top ten countries with the highest levels of biodiversity in the world. It has a land area of
approximately 890,000 square kilometres, comprising almost all types of ecosystems on the planet.

Depending on your allocated park, you will live within beautiful landscapes including jungles and tropical beaches. Wildlife is abundant and cultural interaction is key. All Interns will have good quality accommodation in the parks which may be shared with other Interns

 The most commonly accepted definition as "responsible travel to natural areas which conserves the environment and improves the welfare of the local people".

In addition to using this definition,  uses ecotourism principles to evaluate itself. The ecotourism principles used by 

Click on the links on the left to find out more information about the ecotourism principles that we use or to investigate more about ecotourism in general.

As the new millennium unfolds, we are becoming increasingly aware of the finite, interconnected and precious nature of our planet home. Likewise, tourism is becoming an increasingly popular expression of this awareness. With advances in transportation and information technology, ever more remote areas of the earth are coming within reach of the traveler. In fact, tourism is now the world's largest industry, with nature tourism the fastest growing segment.

In response to this increasing appreciation of nature experiences, a new travel ethic has arisen which is now called ecotourism. This term has become increasingly popular in both conservation and travel circles, but what exactly does it mean?

"Environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local peoples."

Most tourism in natural areas today is not ecotourism and is not therefore, sustainable. Ecotourism can be distinguished from nature tourism by its emphasis on conservation, education, traveler responsibility and active community participation. Specifically, ecotourism possesses the following characteristics:

  • Conscientious, low-impact visitor behavior

  • Sensitivity towards, and appreciation of, local cultures and biodiversity

  • Support for local conservation efforts

  • Sustainable benefits to local communities

  • Local participation in decision-making

  • Educational components for both the traveler and local communities

It is becoming evident that increased tourism to sensitive natural areas in the absence of appropriate planning and management can become a threat to the integrity of both ecosystems and local cultures. Increasing numbers of visitors to ecologically sensitive areas can lead to significant environmental degradation. Likewise, local communities and indigenous cultures can be harmed in numerous ways by an influx of foreign visitors and wealth. Additionally, fluctuations in climate, currency exchange rates, and political and social conditions can make over-dependence upon tourism a risky business.

However, this same growth creates significant opportunities for both conservation and local community benefit. Ecotourism can provide much needed revenues for the protection of national parks and other natural areas, revenues that might not be available from other sources. Additionally, ecotourism can provide a viable economic development alternative for local communities with few other income-generating options. Moreover, ecotourism can increase the level of education and activism among travelers, making them more enthusiastic and effective agents of conservation.


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