How should an ethical traveler select places to visit?

Spotlight on responsible tourism initiatives and resources
Post Reply
planeta
Site Admin
Posts: 6843
Joined: Wed May 14, 2003 8:03 am
Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Contact:

How should an ethical traveler select places to visit?

Post by planeta »

How should an ethical traveler select places to visit? -- This question will be reviewed in the Ethical Travel Dialogue, June 13-July 21, 2006.
http://www.planeta.com/ecotravel/tour/etd.html
http://forum.planeta.com/viewforum.php?f=79

REQUEST -- Please keep messages brief, preferably less than three paragraphs or 250 words. If you have a relevant URL, please mention it within hyphens or on a separate line.

Example: The City Parks Gallery -- http://www.flickr.com/groups/cityparks -- is open to anyone with a Flickr account and who wishes to share pictures of urban parks.

REFERENCES

How to choose a tour
http://www.planeta.com/ecotravel/tour/choose.html

World travel directory
http://www.planeta.com/worldtravel.html

Guidebooks
http://www.planeta.com/ecotravel/reviews/bibtour.html

Gerhard
Traveler
Posts: 76
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 11:26 am
Location: Oaxaca & South Africa
Contact:

Where NOT to go, but who decides?

Post by Gerhard »

Two personal opinions as a traveler to many lesser known tourist countries and communities:

In general I believe that in most cases the question about where to go is far less important than what we do there.

On the question of where NOT to go, obviously there is a case to be made for boycotting countries with a particularly unethical governement to force them to change (in fact my home country South Africa was a point in case in the 1980s and before), but if you travel independently with a social and environmental awareness, spending your money with the local population rather than with big business or government tourism organizations (not easy in some cases though), this becomes less valid. AND who decides where the line of acceptability is?

On a local level I believe the most convincing reason NOT to visit any place is if there is a known feeling communicated by the community that tourists are not really welcome or wanted, something I have come across twice on my travels: by some indigenous jungle communities in Ecuador and by a Rastafarian community in Ethiopia.

Gerhard

Gerhard
Traveler
Posts: 76
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 11:26 am
Location: Oaxaca & South Africa
Contact:

Who protects the rights of the community?

Post by Gerhard »

To answer your question: In both cases I had read about them (one in a guidebook, the other in a magazine) before reaching the surrounding area and it was confirmed upon asking around in nearby towns and I consequently didn

chinacontact
Traveler
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2006 10:05 am
Location: Europe
Contact:

how to choose a destination

Post by chinacontact »

If we assume that an ethical travel has the moral self discipline to research where they go then they will find the information in guide books, internet and through NGO sources.
The wider problem are people who do not prioritise ethics but would still rather not cause damage to where they go, or would like to do something positive in the destination. They are often well meaning but not experienced in independent research. I think this sector is growing and marketing to them requires some market based thinking.

examples of websites that have sustainability indicators is great, deffinitely a good step. I hope that the larger tour operators will start placing sustainability and responsibility markers next to the other hotel information now available, like air con or swimming pool. You could have information on waste treatment, recycling, laundry, work with the community, conservation etc. depending on where the place is.

So many labels have been used in the past that most are meaningless in really detemining ecological or ethical merits of a place. Green, Eco etc. have been abused. It is up to consumers to ask the right questions from their oeprators if they book a package, and from suppliers and local people if they travel independently.

I also would not go to a destination ilike Burma since the democratically elected leadership has asked tourists not to go, since even independently you are made to give foreign currency to a military dictatorship.

the choice is also to travel to places where you can me more of a positive force, smaller communities that receive less tourists and less income. Normally next to a very popular destination there are the less fortunate places that are not as famous and therefore do not see the benefits of tourism. By selecting them and promoting what you experienced, you can spread the benefits.
Roy

Post Reply