Ethical tourism is a multifaceted concept that requires a deep understanding of both the environment and the human actions affecting the it. Ethical tourists consider the impact of their actions with regards to the three pillars of sustainable tourism–the environment, the economy, and society. It is a concept that has been developed in response to the critique of mass tourism. However, not many people know what the practice actually entails and are therefore, often unable to follow through with impactful actions. So here’s a simple guide for ethical tourism and how you can be a part of it.
At a time when the global pandemic has taken away thousands of jobs and pushed many people to a hellhole of debt and unemployment, ethical tourism is more important than ever, and especially in rural areas which have also taken a worse hit. Rural handicraft and handloom makers need more support than ever.
A Few Things You Should Know About Ethical Rural Tourism
1. Ethical Rural Tourism contributes to local communities directly instead of through a middleman or an intermediary.
2. It aims at valuing and safeguarding rural villages along with their associated landscapes, knowledge systems, biological and cultural diversity, local values and activities (agriculture, forestry, livestock and inland fisheries), including their food habits.
Tips To Support Ethical Rural Tourism
- Book through local travel operators
- Indulge in trekking, hiking and walking tours.
- Buy local handicrafts instead of plastic toys.
- Don’t click photos without consent
- Volunteer for cleanups, teaching, painting etc.
- Choose homestays over hotels
- Experience local cuisine
Avoid Greenwashing in Rural Tourism
Always research before finalizing your booking. Green index is a marketing term and if often means nothing. If your travel company doesn’t contribute to local communities, doesn’t have local drivers, trek guides, porters, it means that their practices are shady and probably not sustainable.
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