Tourism is at the soul of human discovery. We grow when we travel. We learn about places, cultures, habitats among a long list of positive outcomes that travel delivers to our psyche- consciously or subconsciously. I am blogging for #ResponsibleTourism activity by Outlook Traveller in association with BlogAdda and glad to share a few steps we can consider while traveling.
Most travelers travel to 2 kinds of locales- beaches or mountains. There are those who go to travel the hustle and bustle of the world’s metropolis but leisure travel is primarily focused on attractions which are replete with blue beaches or sprawling mountainous landscapes.
In both these travel scenarios, travelers experience the beauty of nature in all its splendor. Nature, however, is fragile and vulnerable to destruction. All of us who travel have seen the places we travel to, suffer the impacts of climate change, deforestation and industrialization with least care paid to nature, which takes care of us, in the first place.
As travelers who travel to be in the lap of nature, so to say, it is our responsibility to ensure from we don’t spoil the very lap. We can do our bit, as travelers. We must ensure that wherever we travel, we travel responsibly.
What does responsible tourism mean?
Responsible tourism means that we do every possible to experience the natural surroundings without spoiling their natural essence. Their natural essence is their natural state and it must not be disturbed or we will end up losing the beauty that we long for, that we travel to appreciate.
If we are traveling to beaches or water bodies, for example, there are many things we can do, to preserve the ecology. For example, we can ensure that we carry our waste material like bottles, food items, plastic waste with us, when we leave the beach and not leave any waste of any kind. Beaches, rivers, lakes are water bodies and they are vulnerable to contamination by filth. For example, anybody who has traveled to the beaches in Mumbai will share a sorry account of the dirt and filth on the shore and in the water. We can request fellow travelers to do the same when they travel to such locations. Let us try to keep the beauty of the water and that of the sand as nature intends it to be-pure and pristine.
Also, it is important to respect the culture of your destination. For example, India is a culturally sensitive country. Public nudity is not respected anywhere. It may be acceptable in some parts of the world but will invite unwanted attention in India. Therefore, one must be careful or not hurting the cultural sentiments of the hosts.
Many of us love the call of the mountains. Mountains are ecologically sensitive zones. While traveling to peaks, we must not throw plastic waste or other type of waste anywhere. It does not just disturb other tourists but creates dissonance in the minds of the hosts about the usefulness of the travel activity in their home towns. Also, mountains are peaceful zones unlike the boisterousness of the beaches. One must remember that in the mountains, noise travels much faster and therefore, we can do our bit by not playing loud music which disturbs fellow travelers of hosts alike.
Another area of concern is levels of noise and air pollution at tourist destinations. We must avoid private vehicles as much as possible and public transport to travel to tourist locations. If all tourists travel by private vehicles like cars, it creates high levels of air and noise pollution which defeats the whole purpose of traveling.
Responsible tourism is also about our behavior as tourists. We should be grateful to our hosts and ask them questions, in case of any doubts. More importantly, we must preserve the natural habitat as it is.
Tourism is the key economic activity for many destinations and the survival of their population depends on its existence and persistence. If we as tourists are not responsible, then we may end up spoiling the destinations we travel to, forever. Our future generations may not be able to enjoy the beauty of nature because we were not responsible.
When we travel, let us pledge to travel responsibly. The nature needs us, as much as we need it.