Responsible tourism includes many types of travel, all of which aim to minimize tourism's negative impacts on the environment and local communities while maximizing the positives. Traveling responsibly is not about making sacrifices, stopping development, or staying home. It is about designing trips carefully so that you're able to enjoy the experience you seek, while leaving a positive footprint at the destination.
At the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), we have seen a shift in the types of travel experiences consumers demand and an increase in sustainability initiatives and community involvement among the tourism industry. A growing number of travelers are looking for authenticity, localization, uniqueness, and a pristine environment. From the destination perspective, a competitive advantage is created by offering those qualities. It pays for the destinations and travel businesses to protect their "product," which goes hand in hand with sustainability and community well-being.
It is important to note "responsible travel" does not mean your trip has to be expensive. There is a common misconception that you must pay for sustainability. This simply isn't true. While a number of luxury tourism companies have made tremendous strides in sustainability, budget and moderate travelers have countless options as well. Destinations want you – responsible travelers – because you spend your money staying in locally owned hotels, eating in non-chain restaurants, buying local handicrafts, building bridges with different cultures, and acting with an environmental and social conscience. Not only are you leaving more money behind in the pockets of locals, you are also supporting the sense of place. It's not about how much money you spend – it's about where you spend it. Responsible travel options are everywhere, but it is up to you – the traveler – to educate yourself on how to get involved.
Here is some advice to help you on your journey:
We wish you the experiences of a lifetime!