What does it take to be a responsible traveller? For starters, responsible tourism is a trending subject globally to make the travel experience a better one for the guest as well as the host. When a person travels, s/he is looking to build a connection with the land and take back the best memories of the local flavours. It is not the luxury hotels one looks for, but a local homestay in the heart of the place.
Let's first look at the word responsibility itself. The word is a careful combination of the ability to respond. Responsible tourism appeals to the better nature of tourists to respond on three basic fronts throughout their journey,
- the economic front
- the social front
- the environmental front
If a traveller responds on these fronts sensibly, then there can be no issues created at any level. Conservation of local heritage and a sense of mutual respect also forms the foundation of responsible tourism.
Be a child and be curious about the places you visit. There's a very well made point in the holy texts of India that there's no use visiting a place without prior knowledge about the place itself. You should collect details about sthala mahatva (importance of the place historically or otherwise) and sthala-purana (legends, folk narratives and stories about the place) to make your journey a wholesome experience.
Once you reach your desired destination, stay with the locals, watch them go about their daily rituals without intruding their privacy. Exchange ideas of life and living! It took a while for responsible tourism to evolve and take the place it has right now! Travel to create a bond, smile with the locals discovering the differences and appreciating the similarities!
In India, responsible tourism doesn't have the grip it has in other countries, yet! It is only Kerala tourism that's making outstanding efforts in bringing home the sensibility to respond. The God's Own Country has unending natural resources and unwavering community support. With many National and International recongnitions, Kerala Tourism has continued to be the leading pioneer with respect to responsible tourism in India.
Kumarakom, Wayanad, Kovalam, and Thekkady were the first bunch of destinations where responsible tourism campaigns were tried and tested. It worked so well at these destinations that tourism activities fetched record breaking numbers and at the same time there was no damage to local prosperity in terms of economy and environment. In fact, the local treasure was heightened with enhanced agricultural production and an assured market place and consequently a good employment rate. From crafts to cuisine everything flourished with tourism.
Tourists endorse energy saving measures and women empowerment programmes by being a part of the village activities. Awareness is the key to Responsible tourism. We at Native Planet hope that all of you embark on this journey of responsible travel. Every journey has so much to offer! Take the memories with you and leave only footprints behind!