RESPONSIBLE TOURISM. Make your volunteering experience meaningful.

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1 RESPONSIBLE TOURISM Make your volunteering experience meaningful.

2 Responsible tourism is any form of tourism that is consumed in a responsible way. Volunteer Tourism has enormous potential to improve the lives of destination communities worldwide and to enrich the life experiences of the travellers who volunteer. Hundreds of examples from across the globe show it doing just that: facilitating an exchange of skills between travellers and communities; helping the less well-off in society to access education, health and other basic needs. Responsible volunteer tourism can demonstrate the true potential of tourism to deliver social, economic and environmental improvement. 2

3 Responsible Tourism was defined alongside the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. RESPONSIBLE TOURISM: Minimises negative economic, environmental, and social impacts; Generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of host communities, improves working conditions and access to the industry; Involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances; Makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, to the maintenance of the world s diversity; Provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues; Provides access for physically challenged people; Is culturally sensitive, engenders respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence. åå ResponsibleTourismPartnership.org 3

4 RESPONSIBLE VOLUNTEERING IS A WIDELY DISCUSSED TOPIC The subject of volunteering abroad has become a widely discussed topic, as the practice has become much more popular. The term voluntourism is often used when referring to volunteering abroad experiences and, unfortunately, this term often carries negative connotations. Why is this? Because there are too many volunteering organisations that fail to ensure they are behaving ethically and responsibly. In general terms, these companies focus on providing volunteers with an incredible experience, without considering the other side of the coin; that local communities should be benefitting in the long-term from their presence. Of course, it is vital that volunteers should enjoy a wonderful experience; often they have worked very hard to be able to go on such a trip. But, volunteers satisfaction and gratification should NOT be the only focus of volunteering organisations; there must be due consideration that the experience is worthwhile and meaningful for all parties involved in equal measure. 4

5 responsibletravel.com make it their business to promote good practice in Responsible Tourism. They state the following; Responsible is a heavy word. It creates an emotional reaction. So does travel. Put the two together and it gets you thinking. It might even get you reacting. And, in many cases, it may even make you emotional. Responsible tourism nearly always comes down to respect. That s an easy concept to get your head around. People are at the heart of the responsible tourism movement. First and foremost, as soon as you remember that you are visiting people s homes and communities, and see them as hosts rather than homogenous holiday providers, you become more responsible tourists. Responsible tourism is about creating better places to live in and better places to visit. 5

6 DOING IT THE RIGHT WAY Responsible Tourism (or Travel) has not been introduced as a barrier to deter people from travelling; quite the opposite. It is a helpful consideration for people to have in mind when they are deciding on their next expedition/school trip/adventure. It hopefully provides some guidance to the traveller when selecting which organisation they would like to travel with and what kind of trip they would like to take. At the end of the day, we all want to make honest choices and ensure positive impact on others, and responsible travel guidelines can help people do this. åå African-Adventures.co.uk/responsible-tourism 6

7 RESPONSIBLE TOURISM IS EASY There are a lot of misconceptions about responsible tourism. The reality is that we can all be responsible tourists if we take the right steps. Wherever you go, as long as you support local people, and respect their culture and lands, you are being responsible. Responsible Tourism is largely about common sense. Choose a company that cares about responsible tourism and doing things correctly, and you are already halfway there! 7

8 MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICES Choose to travel with a company that: 1 Has a policy regarding responsible tourism. 2 Shows consideration for the host community as well as you, the volunteer. 3 Demonstrates the positive effects to the local area from their work. 4 Provides advice and guidance as to how you can prepare for your trip. 5 Has a good knowledge of the local area and the support needed. 6 Has good relationships with community figures and works in partnership to effect change. 8

9 SUSTAINING TOURISM S GUIDE TO BEING A RESPONSIBLE TRAVELLER Be considerate of the communities and environment you visit. Don t litter. Try to carry your own shopping bag to avoid contributing to the plastic problem in many countries of the world. Reduce energy consumption. Unplug your mobile phone charger, turn off the lights Conserve water. Take shorter showers Always ask before taking photographs. If someone says no, respect their wishes. Educate yourself about the place you are visiting and the people. Respect cultural differences and learn from them! People in different places do things differently. Don t try to change them enjoy them. Dress respectively. Cover up away from the beach. Notice local dress codes and adhere to them. Support the local economy. Buy locally made souvenirs and enjoy the local culture! Support those who support responsible tourism. åå SustainableTourism.net 9

10 Here at African Adventures, we believe that by working in partnership with local communities in Africa, we can find the best way to effect positive change. åå ~ ~ ~ ƙƙafricanadventuresuk Ǐ ƨƨtripsinafrica

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