What is responsible travel and what does it mean for your next trip in the Philippines?
The International Ecotourism Society advises to follow these values when it comes to responsible travel:
- minimise your impact
- build environmental awareness and respect
- positively impact and empower the local people
- positively impact the local economy and businesses
Check out this visual primer on responsible travel. Make your next trip more sustainable!
Do your research before choosing wildlife attractions, and ask for guidance from travel companies who have a strong wildlife policy. If possible, visit conservation centers to see animals in their natural habitats rather than zoos wherein the animals may be neglected and/or abused.
Clean water is a limited resource in many parts of the world, and every drop you save can go toward agriculture and local health. Take shorter showers, and turn off the faucet when shaving or brushing your teeth. These little acts can help save water and avoid water shortage in the future.
Changing Your Commute
Try eco-friendly ways to commute, rather than relying on gas-guzzling methods of getting around. Try using bicycles, public transportation and walking instead of a car or tour bus. As such, you are not only minimizing your negative impact to the environment, you get more realistic experience too.
Focusing on Culture
Framing your time in a foreign country around learning helps to preserve local culture and heritage. Joining cooking classes, workshops, and public activities, and visiting off the beaten track are great ways to understand the country. Trying homestays is a good experience too.
Asking questions is an essential part of responsible travel for it enables one to find out more about the country’s culture. Whether it’s researching proper attire, or asking permission before taking a photo, dialogue is at the heart of responsible tourism.
Sharing YOUR Culture
Building cultural bridges between cultures opens up opportunities for dialogue. Sharing your own culture with locals demonstrates your willingness to learn and connect.
Investing in Local Culture
The local economy greatly affects one’s travel experience. Spending your travel dollar on local eateries and fairly-produced souvenirs like traditional textiles and handicrafts supports artisans, preserves traditions and helps boost the local economy.
Visiting locally-owned businesses will not only boost the local economy. A rise in tourism will benefit an entire community, not just international companies. Buying woven fabric from indigenous people is one way to preserve the skills that have been part of the community’s culture for generations.
Some donations will have long-lasting benefits while others only a short-term fix. Make a real difference by supporting vocational training programs and projects geared toward helping recipients learn skills that will enable them to support themselves throughout their lifetime.
Have you taken any step to promote responsible tourism? If none, it’s about time you start now!
READ MORE: How to Be a Responsible Traveler