Tourism accounts for 10% of the world’s GDP. It increases employment, reduces poverty, promotes cultural values, diversity, heritage and provides as a tool for peace, security and mutual understanding. 2017 has been appointed the International Year for Sustainable Tourism for Development by the United Nations.
In collaboration with the UN’s sustainable activity The World Committee on Tourism Ethics (WCTE) have listed 5 tips for a responsible traveller, designed to guide key-players in tourism development, addressing the travel industry as well as tourists, communities, and governments with the aim to maximise the positive effects of tourism whilst minimalizing the negative effects.
Honour your hosts and our common heritage:
Experiencing different and unique destinations is one of the most influential reasons for travelling. When Contiki asked what motivates you to travel, 56% of millennial travellers said to learn about other cultures. It’s evident that now more than ever young travellers are keen to learn about the unique history and culture of each destination they visit, all the more reason for operators to ensure this plays an integral role in the development of their product.
Be a respectful traveller:
Travelling respectfully is key to ensuring locals continue to welcome travellers into their communities. It’s imperative for travellers to be aware and mindful of national laws and regulations whilst respecting human rights.
Protect our Planet:
Reducing your environmental impact, respecting wildlife, reducing your water and energy consumption and leaving a minimum footprint behind are just some of the key factors needed to protect our planet. These are considerations that have proven to be of interest to the millennial traveller, with 36% ranking sustainability as the most important trait for their generation. In the European summer of 2016 Contiki travellers recycled over 130,000 plastic bottles (approx. 6 tonnes) used on trips. Coaches in Australia are fitted with drinking water tanks to be used with refillable bottles, further reducing the impact before it’s begun.
Support the local economy:
This can be on any scale from buying locally made products to hiring local guides. With tourism accounting for 10% of the words GDP, supporting the local economy is one of tourisms most influential roles. Contiki have been working with local organisations across counties including Vietnam, Cambodia, Australia, Italy and Austria to ensure they are injecting money directly into the local economies. With 55% of millennial travellers stating that they think their generation will be remembered for leaving the world in a better place, Contiki know this is as important to their audience as it is to them. The traveller’s choice as to where to eat, sleep and visit can have dramatic impact on local development. Friends the Restaurant – located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia – is part of the TREE Alliance (Training Restaurants for Employment and Entrepreneurship), and works to build the futures of former street children and marginalised young people in Phnom Penh since 1994, providing training, employment and opportunity within the restaurant industry. All Contiki trips through Cambodia visit Friends as an included meal, directly supporting the work of Friends.
Be an informed traveller:
The steps you make before travelling are as important as the way you conduct yourself whilst travelling. Taking appropriate health and safety precautions prior and during your trip, knowing how to access medical care or contact your embassy in case of an emergency and choosing tourism operators with environmental policies in place are all key musts to ensure travellers are informed.