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Updated by GiN on Apr 27, 2018
Headline for Responsible Travel - 5 Ways to become a responsible tourist!
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Responsible Travel - 5 Ways to become a responsible tourist!

The term Responsible Tourism was coined during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, in Cape Town. According to the Cape Town Declaration, Responsible Tourism is about “making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit”. It requires a collective effort of not just the traveller, but hoteliers, operators, governments and the local people as well to build a healthy environment for everyone.
Here are some ways you can be a responsible tourist.

1

Do your homework

Do your homework

We’re not really talking about your university homework here. Obviously, that can wait. Before travelling to another country, research about the culture, history, and basic dos and donts are some of the key things to do first, possibly even before booking your flight tickets! Once you realise the certain customs and rules you have to follow and depending on your willingness to adhere to them, then go ahead and book the tickets. For example, if your wardrobe only consists of shorts and you seriously refuse to wear anything longer while on holiday in a country like Sri Lanka, then you got to reconsider because when visiting religious places, you are required to cover your shoulders and knees. Or perhaps if you’re planning a trip to Dubai, keep in mind that PDA is not allowed. Research is important and it gives you a rough idea of what to expect when you’re in a foreign country. Another thing you can do is learn basic local words and phrases such as Thank you, Good morning etc.

2

Research your tour operators

Research your tour operators

Hiring a travel agent is a great way to explore the country with a package deal. However, before you get a travel agent, find out which ones actually give back to the community. SoulTrek Sri Lanka is one of the agencies that promote all kinds of options for responsible tourism. From promoting awareness on animal welfare to encouraging travellers to buy local items, each tour can be specifically crafted to your liking.

3

Be aware of animal welfare

Be aware of animal welfare

Animal welfare is one of the more crucial things to think about when you’re in a new country. Refrain from elephant rides, visiting zoos and parks like SeaWorld, which holds animals in captivity and illegally. These animals are often abused and mistreated just for a quick tourist buck. Be sensible when travelling and respect the animal. Avoid buying wildlife products like ivory souvenirs, conch shells, fur coats, leather items, etc. The most ideal and authentic way to watch a country's wildlife, is to embark on a wildlife safari national parks, nature reserves, etc. Some hotels such as Hotel Sigiriya help guests in organizing wildlife safaris to Sri Lanka's national parks.

4

Dress appropriately

Dress appropriately

When you’re in a foreign country, remember to respect their culture and religions. Always dress appropriately and be modest when visiting sacred places of worships. Tourists should refrain from taking pictures in front of objects of worship at religious shrines, for example. In most temples in Sri Lanka, you are prohibited from taking pictures and videos of any statue of the Buddha.

5

EAT. SHOP. STAY - Local

EAT. SHOP. STAY - Local

One of the major parts of being a responsible tourist is to do everything LOCAL! Whether you’re dining, shopping or looking for an accommodation. Stay away from the big international brands when you’re looking for a place to eat, sleep or shop at. Try everything local. Eat from small local restaurants and sample authentic local food, buy locally produced souvenirs or clothes, and most importantly stay at a local accommodation, whether it’s a hotel, resort, hostel, homestay, etc.