As you plan for your holidays there are many things to occupy your thoughts including things such as cost, means of travel, and the destination.
However, can we suggest one more item for your consideration? Just one small decision, but one that can have enormous impact on the area you travel to and the people who live there.
When checking out the travel company, airline, cruise ship, bus or train company, accommodation venue, hire car company and the like, see if they support responsible or ethical travel?
While for many this will be a new concept it is in fact a very important question which needs to be asked. Let us give you ten questions you might like to be asking when planning a holiday or any travel:
- does money spent in that location stay in local hands or is it retained by multinational companies and employees
- are local or international products being sold and consumed by those on the tour
- do any souvenirs encourage the illegal killing and trade of endangered species
- does the travel program or agenda show respect for the environment and local people, culture, beliefs, religion
- does the travel brochure mention attempts by that company to reduce their environmental impact or footprint on that place
- does your airline have plans to reduce its CO2 emissions
- are local guides used in preference to travel company ‘expats’
- do photography opportunities respect others’ traditions, cultures and rituals
- does the schedule allow for time to get out the bus and experience nature and local life – not just look at it through a window,
- can you read through the brochure and think you could really enjoy that holiday while giving something back to that place?
All travellers have the ability to encourage travel companies and providers to move towards being more responsible or ethical in how they present and carry out those activities. It’s called ‘voting with your feet‘. If you don’t like what you read in a travel brochure, then just walk away and go with someone else. If all travelers started to be a little more discerning when traveling, we would soon see all travel options improving, resulting in greater respect for the environment and indigenous communities.
But what if you don’t make such wise travel decisions, or choose not to? Well, experts are already telling us that we are starting to see a future in Africa without wildlife. The killing of beautiful animals will continue as poachers remove their tusks, cut off their hands, or sell their skins. Locals will continue to be impoverished while big companies become richer, and the environment will take second place to mega-sized concrete hotels, bitumen roads and planes polluting our skies.
It’s your choice though. It really is.
If like us, you would like future generations to be able to experience this wonderful planet as we can today, and not just read about it in a book, then all of us need to become more aware, and make conscious decisions when choosing future travel options.
Please let us know how you go, and whether you support our push for more responsible and ethical travel companies and providers. Leave a comment, and please subscribe if you like what you read.
Chris and Trev Barre
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