Ecotourism emerged as a crucial movement in the 1980s, countering the rapid proliferation of resorts across Europe, the Americas, and other popular tourist destinations. It was a response from conservationists who fought to protect important ecosystems and habitats worldwide, arguing that tourism, or ecotourism, could generate vital income for these areas if they remained undeveloped. The appeal of ecotourism lay in the pristine natural environments and abundant wildlife that attracted tourists.
Over time, the definition of ecotourism expanded. Ceballos-Lascurain extended it in 1993 to include the importance of supporting local communities. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) adopted this definition in 1996. However, the term “ecotourism” has been misused by companies and individuals, leading to confusion. At Responsible Travel, we prefer the term “responsible tourism” as it encompasses principles of caring for communities, environments, and heritage in all forms of tourism. We carefully screen the holiday companies listed on our platform, ensuring transparency and accountability.
Sustainable Travel & Tourism:
Sustainability in travel and tourism involves creating a balance between meeting present needs without compromising those of future generations. It requires putting back as much as we use, avoiding overdevelopment of precious land and unsustainable resource extraction. While sustainability and development are not always compatible in the tourism industry, responsible tourism strives to achieve a balance. At Responsible Travel, we believe that travel can be a force for good, but we also acknowledge the need to reduce carbon emissions and travel responsibly to benefit local communities. It is essential to address the carbon footprint associated with travel and seek ways to minimize environmental impact while promoting local well-being.
Ethical travel poses various dilemmas, such as visiting countries with human rights issues, second-home ownership in tourist destinations, or swimming pools in areas with limited access to drinking water. At Responsible Travel, we believe that ethical choices are an integral part of being a responsible tourist. We address a wide range of ethical issues, including the impact of safaris on indigenous people’s land rights, volunteer programs with vulnerable children, travel to post-conflict zones, and interactions with wildlife. Our responsible tourism travel guides provide information on ethical issues and recommend companies that offer activities in a responsible and ethical manner.
Community-based tourism (CBT) involves communities coming together to create tourism destinations that benefit everyone involved. It is a utopian concept of responsible tourism where communities cooperate, promote their desired tourism products, and reap the benefits collectively. However, not all community-based tourism businesses succeed in achieving responsible and high-quality practices. At Responsible Travel, we showcase exemplary community-based tourism holidays that have been visited and loved by our travelers. These destinations demonstrate the positive impact of community involvement in tourism.
At Responsible Travel, we strive to promote responsible and sustainable travel practices that prioritize the well-being of local communities, the environment, and cultural heritage.