Softback Travel’s philosophy is simple: We believe that normalizing responsible travel will get us a giant step closer towards a healthier planet.
With a rising number of international tourists annually (1.5 billion in 2019), each and every one of us needs to make mindful choices and be aware of the responsibility we have towards the places and people we visit.
The tourism industry is continuing to grow (despite a huge decline in international tourism due to Covid-19 in 2020) and generates more than 10% of the global GDP. In other words, that equals one in ten jobs worldwide.
Let’s face it – the travel sector has a giant impact on our environment. At the same time, this means that a shift towards responsible travel practices has the potential to make a big difference.
From the destination you choose to the food you eat, you are able to make a difference by traveling responsibly.
What is the difference between Responsible Travel and Responsible Tourism?
The terms tourism and travel are closely related, yet do not mean the exact same thing.
In short, travel is the movement of a person between different places and tourism is travel for leisure. It goes without saying that both need to be practiced responsibly.
What is the definition of Responsible Tourism?
According to the declaration of the Cape Town Conference on Responsible Tourism, which took place in 2002 as a side event preceding the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg,
- minimizes 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 industry;
- involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances;
- makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, to the maintenance of the world’s 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;
- and is culturally sensitive, engenders respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence.
Basically, as a responsible tourist you leave the place better than you found it.
Do I have to give up things in order to travel responsibly?
Generally speaking, responsible travel behavior can be achieved easily and should be common sense.
Responsible Travel does not mean low-budget or outdoors only. Luxury travel and responsible travel are not mutually exclusive, for example.
Being aware of the places you visit is not only easy but will also make your travel experience a lot better.