RESPONSIBLE TOURISM: what it is and examples - Do you sign up?

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In recent decades the tourism industry has gained great importance worldwide in economic development systems. However, if we take into account the cost or value of the impacts it generates on the environment, its benefits would surely be much lower. This is where the ecotourism, a new tourism modality, committed to sustainability, which responds to the need to protect and conserve the environment, in each of the activities carried out by human beings.

If you want to know more about tourism sustainability, keep reading this Green Ecologist article about what is responsible tourism and examples from this, where you can also discover its benefits and some keys to be able to travel in a responsible and sustainable way.

What is responsible tourism and its characteristics

The social conscience forged in the last twenty years and the incorporation of sustainability in the different sectors of our economy, have broken into the traditional practices and policies of the tourism sector. This is how responsible tourism arises based on the criteria of sustainable tourism and ethical behavior of all the people involved in the production-consumption process.

In this definition of responsible tourism The relationship with sustainable tourism is reflected, although they are not the same. Sustainable tourism is more reactive while the responsible has a more preventive nature. However, these are not the only types of tourism committed to the environment. Others have also emerged, although they are all closely linked to each other, such as rural tourism or solidarity tourism, the latter based on the restoration of natural environments and on social or environmental research carried out by volunteers in the most disadvantaged countries, always with the objective of eradicating poverty (SDG, Sustainable Development Goal 1). In any case, all are based on sustainability and should serve to reduce negative environmental, social and economic impacts.

The main characteristics of responsible tourism are:

  • Its purpose is to sensitize people so that through responsible actions a complete and successful transformation of the tourism model that, until now, we have taken as unique can take place.
  • Drift for the benefit of the local community.
  • It favors personal growth fed by enriching experiences.

Examples of responsible tourism

These are some examples of responsible tourism:

  • In SpainThere are sites that are very committed to conciliating tourism and the preservation of nature. Such is the case of Vitoria-Gasteiz, La Rioja Alavesa, Los Pirineos and what we currently know as emptied Spain, Cáceres, León, Teruel or Zamora, among others.
  • Iceland, a benchmark in the use of renewable energy sources, is another example of sustainable and responsible tourism. It offers activities to raise awareness and to appreciate its natural beauty such as: responsible whale and seal watching, hiking, excursions to glaciers or to see the Northern Lights.
  • In the town of Werfenweng, Austria, the use of clean energy has been promoted in the transport and tourism sector.
  • Finally, it highlights Greenland, where ecotourism offers adventure sports and sustainable activities such as walks, responsible whale watching, guided kayak routes …

Responsible tourism benefits

Responsible tourism generates very important social and environmental benefits that, contrary to what may be thought, favor the conversion towards a circular economy model, ethical and respectful with the environment. Some of the main benefits of responsible tourism are:

  • Minimal impact on the environment.
  • It favors and contributes to responsible and respectful consumption, totally contrary to the consumerism in which we have been mostly immersed in recent decades.
  • It generates social benefits and ecological benefits on flora, fauna and ecosystems.
  • It allows to maintain constant monitoring and control processes for the conservation of the natural environment, in which citizens can actively participate.
  • It fosters respect for local cultural communities, their culture and their traditions. This avoids conflicts between tourism and citizens, as well as boosting the local economy or local commerce.
  • At an economic level, it is another source of employment.
  • It promotes not only the conservation of cultural heritage, but also that of historical and natural heritage.
  • It highlights rural areas and a greater social awareness arises regarding their conservation and care.
  • Given the ethical foundations of responsible tourism, it is expected that this activity will allow breaking inequalities, job insecurity and fighting for the eradication of poverty.
  • It promotes an integrated development of the economy, avoiding imbalances between the different sectors or activity groups. That is, it allows carrying out a non-exclusive and conciliatory economic diversification of the territories.

How to be a good, responsible and sustainable tourist

Are you signing up for responsible tourism on your next trips? Take note that, first of all, to do responsible and sustainable tourism We must take into account the needs of the destination to which we travel and what benefits we can report to the locality with our trip. However, for achieve tourism sustainability It is also important to note that:

  • There are internationally recognized seals and certificates of responsible tourism, such as the Biosphere Responsible Tourism or the Green Destinations, which can help us choose our destination.
  • To properly choose accommodation there are various platforms such as Origorooms, where we can see which sustainable hotels exist, or Ecobnb, similar to Airbnb but with a different philosophy.
  • Respect the nature of the area, avoiding the deliberate collection of plants, stones, shells or fossils.
  • Comply with the signs that can be found both in the mountains and on the coast (eg: avoid throwing cigarette butts, walking along the dune ridges, do not make fires, etc.).
  • The opportunities for responsible and sustainable tourism begin by trying to ruralize ourselves, go to the countryside, rediscover new perspectives of the areas we visit, such as gastronomy, crafts, respectful animal watching.
  • If you want to have a positive impact in the area, you can visit animal recovery centers or environmental education centers and participate in their volunteering.
  • Avoid traveling in low-cost packages and carrying out activities that have a negative impact on ecosystems, such as sport fishing, spearfishing, large bottles on the street and in open spaces, etc.
  • Minimize the generation of waste, especially plastics.
  • Travel by public transport as much as possible, avoiding taking private transport, to minimize greenhouse gas emissions.

Here you can learn some more tips related to How to do sustainable tourism, which as we have seen before is similar to responsible and should be practiced together, as a lifestyle in relation to travel.

If you want to read more articles similar to Responsible tourism: what it is and examplesWe recommend that you enter our Tourism category.

  • Drafting of Cerdanya Wellness Ecoresort. (2022). Cerdanya Wellness Ecoresort. Sustainable tourism: examples of responsible countries:
  • Batlle Cardona, M. (June 2022). National Geographic Spain, Travel. How to be a responsible tourist without leaving Spain:
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