Responsible Tourism since Cape Town Declaration 2002
"Responsible tourism" has been the buzzword
in tourism development discussions in recent years:
In 2002, 280 representatives from all sectors of tourism from 20 countries
attended the Cape Town Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations,
preceding the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.
A declaration on responsible tourism was
agreed. A Second International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations with
500 delegates from 29 countries took place in Kerala
(India) in March 2008, which adopted the
Cape Town DeclarationThe 2002 Cape Town declaration agreed
that responsible tourism:
- 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
- involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life
- makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural
heritage embracing 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
- provides access for physically challenged people
- is culturally sensitive, encourages respect between tourists and hosts, and
builds local pride and confidence
The Kerala declaration 2008 ends with
There is a danger that Responsible
Tourism will be undermined by businesses, communities or governments which use
the rhetoric but cannot substantiate the claims. We call upon those committed to
the aspirations of Responsible Tourism to challenge those who pay only lip
service to the cause and we call on those who are making a difference to report
their contribution in a transparent, honest and robust way so that Responsible
Tourism can be identified by the consumer and expectations can be raised to the
benefit of those who practise Responsible Tourism and to the detriment of those
who do not.
Five and a half years on from Cape Town we
recognise that there has not been as much progress as we would have hoped, nor
as much progress as is needed if the travel and tourism industry is to
contribute its share of the action required to achieve sustainable development.
The declaration identifies
necessary actions in the following fields:
EDUCATION AND LEARNING
TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR
SUSTAINABLE LOCAL SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
MONITORING, MEASUREMENT AND REPORTING
The first "World
Responsible Tourism Day" was held during the WTM
2007 in November 2007 in London and was - unlike Kerala
- seen as a big success measured by the number and quality
Since 2004, the "World
Tourism Award" is given, since 2007 sponsored by
Responsible Tour Operator
in a Mountain Environment
in a Marine Environment
Responsible Cruise Operator
for low carbon transport or technology
for Conservation of endangered species or protected area
for Conservation of Cultural Heritage
for poverty reduction
THE RESPONSIBLE TOURIST AND TRAVELLER.
Part of Code of Tourism Ethics from UNWTO (2005)
Travel and tourism should be planned and practiced
as a means of individual and collective fulfilment.
When practiced with an open mind, it is an irreplaceable
factor of self education, mutual tolerance and for learning
about the legitimate differences between peoples and
cultures and their diversity.
Everyone has a role to play creating responsible
travel and tourism. Governments, business and communities
must do all they can, but as a guest you can support
this in many ways to make a difference:
1. Open your mind to other cultures and traditions
– it will transform your experience, you will earn respect
and be more readily welcomed by local people. Be tolerant
and respect diversity – observe social and cultural
traditions and practices.
2. Respect human rights. Exploitation in any form
conflicts with the fundamental aims of tourism. The
sexual exploitation of children is a crime punishable
in the destination or at the offender’s home country.
3. Help preserve natural environments. Protect wildlife
and habitats and do not purchase products made from
endangered plants or animals.
4. Respect cultural resources. Activities should
be conducted with respect for the artistic, archaeological
and cultural heritage.
5. Your trip can contribute to economic and social
development. Purchase local handicrafts and products
to support the local economy using the principles of
fair trade. Bargaining for goods should reflect an understanding
of a fair wage.
6. Inform yourself about the destination’s current
health situation and access to emergency and consular
services prior to departure and be assured that your
health and personal security will not be compromised.
Make sure that your specific requirements (diet, accessibility,
medical care) can be fulfilled before you decide to
travel this destination.
7. Learn as much as possible about your destination
and take time to understand the customs, norms and traditions.
Avoid behaviour that could offend the local population.
8. Familiarize yourself with the laws so that you
do not commit any act considered criminal by the law
of the country visited. Refrain from all trafficking
in illicit drugs, arms, antiques, protected species
and products or substances that are dangerous or prohibited
by national regulations.
IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUSTAINABLE TOURISM AND RESPONSIBLE
An answer by Ron Mader of Responsible
Responsible tourism is treating others the way they wish to be treated.
While tourism campaigns have long touted 'destinations' -- in fact we are
simply entering a place that is
someone else's home. Said Transitions Abroad founder Clay Hubbs in a 2004
interview: "The golden rule is more and more recognized as the first rule of
travel and adventure travel and I'm told that group organizers are rewarded by
their customers for observing it."
Perhaps responsible tourism goes a step further, to what is called the Platinum
Rule - treating others the way they wish to be treated. The work ahead lies
in connecting top-down and grassroots efforts. Responsible travel means
extending solidarity over time. Efforts that lack continuity, even if developed
with good intentions, can make situations
We ask a lot of tourism these days ... that it be eco, that it be sustainable
and that it be responsible. Global tourism has changed in the past decade. A
growing number of travelers want their journeys to be less invasive and more
beneficial to the local community. They want to better understand the culture of
the places they visit.
Travelers and locals are seeking ways of building constituencies with the
shared goal of making tourism more responsible.
Says noted author and
activist Deborah McLaren: "An umbrella term that encompasses this new mindset
and mode of travel is 'responsible tourism' which is based on ethics and human
rights. It also means support for community-based travelers' programs --
homestays, guest cottages, ethno-museums, and educational programs that bring
tourist dollars directly into communities."
And what does Wikipedia say?
The pillars of responsible tourism are therefore the same as those of
sustainable tourism – environmental integrity, social justice and economic
development. The major difference between the two is that, in responsible
tourism, individuals, organisations and businesses are asked to take
responsibility for their actions and the impacts of their actions. This shift in
emphasis has taken place because some stakeholders feel that insufficient
progress towards realising sustainable tourism has been made since the Earth
Summit in Rio. This is partly because everyone has been expecting others to
behave in a sustainable manner. The emphasis on responsibility in responsible
tourism means that everyone involved in tourism – government, product owners and
operators, transport operators, community services, NGO’s and CBO’s, tourists,
local communities, industry associations – are responsible for achieving the
goals of responsible tourism.
And the industry?
InterContinental Hotel Group immediately started
watering down the term:
Responsible tourism takes into account the interconnected environmental,
socio-cultural and economic aspects of tourism.
Tourism brings economic wellbeing to host communities. It creates stable
sources of income that benefit local business and provides employment
opportunities for the community. Sustainable operations are characterised, at
least in part, by local employment, the training opportunities they offer and
their local sourcing policies.
Environmental aspects related to responsible tourism focus on minimising
climate change. These include using resources such as energy and water wisely,
minimising waste and conserving ecosystems and biodiversity.
Responsible tourism also respects the culture and people of local
communities, conserving cultural sites and traditions and supporting human
And a positive example from Wildasia:
| More Globalized and more Sustainable and Responsible
Tourism: Consequences for Tourism Management
Tourism and Politics in the XXI.
- Tourism is getting more and more
important in economical, ecological, social terms
- Tourism is happening in the public
- Tourism is threatening it's own
- Tourism involves most people on
the planet as hosts and guests
--> Politicians have to
pay more attention to tourism, more institutions, more regulations
--> Tourism is in danger to lose
it's positive image
--> Tourism service providers
have to find ways act to keep positive image, earn money without
destroying the resources
--> Tourism is much more than
just accomodation and transport, there is no "Ursprüngliches und Abgeleitetes Angebot"
Tourism service providers have to serve customers and staff from
different cultures, have to manage relations with different political
and legal systems