Responsible tourism practices emphasise creating better environments for local communities to live and for tourists to visit. It is about respecting a destination, its environment, communities and culture by practising responsible behaviour as a traveller.
Such behaviour allows globetrotters to become part of the lifestyle of locals and make an impact by supporting the local economy, creating awareness about sustainable practices, promoting their culture and advocating eco-tourism to protect nature and the diversity of a place.
Today, responsible tourism is an amalgamation of indigenous communities, travellers, hoteliers, tourist operators and governments to make tourism sustainable and meaningful.
India is leaping forward in responsible tourism with mindful practices that aim to conserve the environment, boost local economies and contribute to the cultural heritage of a destination.
Here are four recent tourism efforts that inspire responsible tourism traditions:
1. Eco-tourism Practices in Wildlife Sanctuaries and Forest Areas
Eco-tourism is part of responsible tourism and seeks to improve the environment with sustainable travel and vacationing methods and enhance the livelihood of locals.
The eco-tourism policy of the government facilitates the creation of an eco-tourism zone in and around wildlife sanctuaries, forest areas, national parks and conservation and community reserves.
Local forest dwellers and communities are inherent in responsible travel approaches where they learn sustainable development and build temporary settlements using natural resources for visitors. The benefits from tourism are also shared with them to economise their livelihood and surroundings.
The management educates travellers and locals to appreciate the elements of nature and strives to protect them by taking responsibility for their actions and not harming the environment.
2. Eliminating Single-Use Plastic to Save Endangered Habitats
The ban on single-use plastics is in line with encouraging responsible tourism practices. Each year, travellers leave tons of plastic waste as litter in the open that harms animal species as they end up consuming them. What's more, plastic pollution in local rivers harms aquatic species, and cleaning authorities accrue extra costs to find and dispose of such plastics.
Eliminating single-use plastics is financially and environmentally sustainable. Habitats can rejuvenate with plastic elimination, and encouraging tourists and locals to adopt plastic replacements like jute bags, bamboo toothbrushes, and biodegradable cutlery will benefit the local economy as communities can participate and produce these items to save their habitat.
3. Inspiring Responsible Tourism in India at the Country’s Southern Heartland, Kerala
Kerala, known for its pristine coastal areas, backwaters, rich wildlife and scenic beauty, is leading India’s journey into adopting responsible tourism.
The state implements responsible tourism practices to develop and empower local communities and businesses by developing small enterprises for local crafts and products. Even better, they intend to create homestead stays for tourists to make them part of the local life and enhance their travelling experiences.
For example, Chellagodu Homestay in Wayanad offers a picturesque stay and an opportunity for tourists to participate in everyday life of locals.
4. Sustainable Infrastructure for Responsible Tourism
Construction of local houses, restaurants and market areas using natural materials like mud, bamboo sticks, and straw bale in local tourist destinations encourages responsible tourism in many Indian states.
Building sustainable infrastructure protects the environment and offers an experiential travelling experience to all kinds of travellers. They can become part of community development by assisting locals in building sustainable stays, teaching them ways to generate income through local resources and learning the local arts of indigenous dwellers.
NotOnMap India is building a community of responsible travellers by connecting like-minded tourists with local communities and providing rural tourism opportunities to backpackers seeking unique travel experiences.
Traveler | Copywriter