What is Responsible Tourism?

What is Responsible Tourism?

Responsible Tourism was defined in Cape Town in 2002 alongside the World Summit on Sustainable Development. This definition, the Cape Town Declaration is now widely accepted and was been adopted by the World Travel Market in 2007 for World Responsible Tourism Day.

Responsible Tourism is about “making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit.” Responsible Tourism requires that operators, hoteliers, governments, local people and tourists take responsibility, take action to make tourism more sustainable.

The World Travel Market has adopted the Cape Town Declaration definition of Responsible Tourism for its World Responsible Tourism Day which encourages the industry to take responsibility for making tourism more sustainable and demonstrate their responsibility.

The Cape Town Declaration recognises that Responsible Tourism takes a variety of forms, it is characterised by travel and tourism which:

  • minimises negative economic, environmental and social impacts;
  • generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of host communities, improves working conditions and access to the industry;
  • involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life changes;
  • makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, 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, social and environmental issues;
  • provide access for people with disabilities and the disadvantaged;
  • is culturally sensitive, engenders respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence.

Behaviour can be more or less responsible and what is responsible in a particular place depends upon environment and culture.

Garry Wilson, Mainstream Product & Purchasing Director, for the TUI Group argues in an interview specially recorded, for Cape Town and Africa, that Responsible Tourism is now core, mainstream business for TUI.  Video

There are some useful forums on Responsible Tourism

Responsible Tourism Practitioners
IrresponsibleTourism
Responsible Tourism News

Key Responsible Tourism Documents

2001 UNWTO Global Code of Ethics

2002 The Cape Town Declaration is the founding document of the Responsible Tourism Movement