The holidays season has begun: the sun is finally shining, you might have been bitten by mosquitoes while having drinks outside with your friends, and soon you will pack your luggage off to your dream destination. Have you already chosen where to go? Do you want to do it “in a responsible way”? In this article, we present you responsible tourism so that you can include green and social topics to your holidays.
Whatever option you will choose (conventional or responsible tourism), you can be as green and as social-friendly as at home! This non-exhaustive list gives practical examples.
- Want to picnic on the road? Bring reusable cutlery instead of disposable ones.
- Renting a full flat/house to reduce eating outside? Bring your own dressing kit with you! You can find empty tiny bottles and boxes for salt/pepper/oil that will reduce weight and space in your luggage, but that will avoid that you buy a full bottle there, that you will not take back with you
- Driving by car? You can choose to visit the next cities by using public transportation: you will avoid parking fees, consume less fuel, and get an insight of the locals’ life.
- Bringing “souvenirs” to your relatives? You can choose to support local crafts, produced by local communities. It helps reducing the carbon footprint linked to transport and ensure livelihood for these craftsmen.
- Flying somewhere? If you cannot avoid flying, you can always compensate your emissions through mechanisms such as MyClimate where your emissions are calculated, and you chose to make up for them by giving money to support dedicated projects
- Going to the beach or for a walk?
- Bring a bin bag with you. Not all sites are equipped with proper garbage system. You can then dispose of your litter afterwards. If you don’t know how it works, check with the local inhabitants on how they sort out waste instead of putting all of it into the same bag.
- Take a reusable bottle that you can fill in with drinkable water (depending of course in which country you are!) Check out the embassy recommendations to travel before, or the Health institutes. In Germany you can contact the Tropeninstitut
- Going outside Europe? There are several options to support local people and be environment-friendly while also ensuring your own safety and security. We present below the various “Responsible Tourism” trends and further resources.
Responsible tourism: find your way among all the definitions.
According to the Center for Responsible Tourism, “while the definitions differ slightly in emphasis, their core message is the same: that tourism, done well, brings positive benefits for conservation and host communities, and is educational as well as enjoyable for the traveler.”
- Ecotourism Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people. 
- Geotourism Tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place – its environment, heritage, aesthetics, and culture and the well-being of its residents. 
- Pro-Poor Tourism Tourism that results in increased net benefits for poor people.
- Responsible Tourism Tourism that maximizes the benefits to local communities, minimizes negative social or environmental impacts, and helps local people conserve fragile cultures and habitats or species.
- Sustainable Tourism Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities. Sustainable tourism development guidelines and management practices are applicable to all forms of tourism in all types of destinations, including mass tourism and the various niche tourism segments
We recommend you to read the full survey of the Center for Responsible Tourism or their website to find additional information and resources. They also provide a list of recommendations.
Do you have more tips and recommendations to share?
We wish you happy holidays and wonderful travel experiences!
 National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations, http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/sustainable/about_geotourism.html
 Pro-Poor Tourism, http:// www.propoortourism.org.uk/what_is_ppt.html
 World Tourism Organization, UNWTO, http://www.unep.fr/shared/publications/pdf/DTIx0592xPA-TourismPolicyEN.pdf)