Responsible Tourism is what we do to make tourism more sustainable, it is about how we use tourism to create sustainable development to benefit communities and destinations
Sustainability is the ambition; Responsible Tourism is about what we do as producers and consumers to realise the aspiration. Too often sustainable is used only in the abstract sense. Responsible Tourism is not the same as sustainable tourism. Responsibility requires that we say what we are doing to make tourism better and that we are transparent about what we achieve. The agenda is broad across the three pillars of economic, social and environmental responsibility a wide range of resources are available.
Responsible Tourism is about using tourism to make better places to live in and better places to visit. Overtourism is the opposite, a consequence of a failure to manage tourism sustainably. Overtourism describes destinations where hosts or guests, locals or visitors, feel that there are too many visitors and that the quality of life in the area or the quality of the experience has deteriorated unacceptably. Often both visitors and guests experience the deterioration concurrently. There are a variety of causes and solutions.
Aviation is the Achilles heel of the travel and tourism sector. If you are buying offsets, take care, you may be jeopardising your reputation, particularly if you are selling them to your customers. If something looks too good to be true, it usually is. There is more here about the questions to ask of any carbon offset. It is important to begin now to develop alternative fuels to maintain aviation.
Harold Goodwin drafted the Cape Town Declaration in 2002, the founding manifesto of the Responsible Tourism Movement. Since 2004 Responsible Tourism Awards have recognised good practice and spread awareness of what can, and should, be done. There are International Centres around the world and annual conferences to share and promote Responsible Tourism. Harold is the WTM’s Responsible Tourism Advisor with programmes at the trade shows in London, Cape Town, Dubai & Sao Paulo