What is Responsible Tourism and why is it important?
The Cape Town Declaration recognises that Responsible Tourism takes a variety of forms, it is characterised by travel and tourism which:
- Minimises negative environmental, social and cultural impacts;
- Generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the wellbeing of host communities, by improving 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 and 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 and environmental issues;
- Provides access for physically challenged people;
- Is culturally sensitive and engenders respect between tourists and their hosts.
Poverty reduction through Tourism
Responsible Tourism has been recognized by the United Nations as a powerful tool for poverty reduction. Tourism is a unique sector in many ways, and can – if managed properly – significantly contribute to achievement of the Milennium Development Goals. Some unique characteristics are:
• Tourism is at the origin of being the biggest transfer of wealth ever from the rich to the poor countries
• The largest provider of foreign currency of many Less Developed Countries
• The world’s largest industry with revenues of over 1 $trillion per year, and 6% of global employment
• The most tremendous growth industry of the last 50 years
• A very resilient sector (for example in 2009 tourism recorded a decrease of -6% of receipts compared to -12% for overall trade)
• It boosts private sector entrepreneurship.
• The majority of jobs are created in Small & Medium Sized Enterprises in rural areas.
• It has a strong multiplier effect (up to 4 times)
• Tourism boosts other sectors such as transport, handicrafts, agriculture & services.
• Tourism is consumed at the place of production, so local people have easier market access than in other industries and more chance to benefit directly, and manage and control operations, and small businesses.
• It is labour intensive (currently the second largest employer in the world) and allow creation of a multitude of jobs very accessible for women, disadvantaged and youth.
• It can prevent rural exodus, encourage preservation of cultural traditions, of natural heritage, revive pride of the poorest in their local traditions and customs.
Do you want to be a Responsible Tourist?
It’s easy! Making responsible choices about your holiday can help protect communities and the environment. Learn more at EcoTourism International