Tourism has become such a force in the world, it can transform local communities and cultures dramatically. Sometimes for the better, with more jobs and more cash into our economy.
Here are some of the things you need to consider when you want to travel more ethically in a local community.
1. Children Are Not Tourism Attractions
A friend once told me that and it sank deep minutes later. What he basically meant is that if you are visiting a local community and they have an orphanage, school or slum, avoid visiting them. Such visits can infringe on a child’s need for safety, privacy and stability. Instead, donate to a local Non-governmental Organization (NGO). What remains a fact is that the time children will spend with a caregiver, educator or health practitioner will be more valuable than time spent with you.
2. Choose Guides and Operators Led By Employing Local People
Whether booking a three week and just a day excursion, look for tour operators whose profits will benefit people from the locality you are visiting. An example can be a tour operator which uses guides who are locals or uses local businesses as suppliers. This helps the local people and also improves the quality of the experience.
3. Follow Local Laws and Customs
Authorities in areas dependant on tourism may turn a blind eye to public drinking, fence jumping, causing public disturbance, picking up fights with locals or many other minor infractions. But obnoxious behaviour might be offensive to local people, and, over time, make the community less hospitable to
4. Don’t Hurt Animals
Look closely at opportunities to interact with animals, especially exotic animals. How are the animals being treated when you are not there? Is all the attention stressing the animal out? Interact with them when appropriate so as not to hurt them.
5. Leave No Trace Except Your Spending
It is a given that visitors should not litter. But also when possible, consider consuming locally produced products and services, a traditional beverage instead of one produced by a global company, footwear made by locals instead of an international brand.