RESPONSIBLE TOURISM...

A GREAT WAY TO TRAVEL LEAVING A POSITIVE FOOTPRINT


When planning a trip, we look within several options for places that meet the tastes and needs we have at that time, so if the purpose is to have a time to relax away from home, we focus on beach options, spa` s, mountain refuges, etc, if the purpose is adventure then of course they are the destinations that offer us adrenaline activities that go according to our experience and aptitude, if the reason for traveling is to enjoy wildlife or culture the same way the places that we look for will be those that offer us these experiences.

To make the trip once the place has been chosen we prepare to go and investigate the weather in the place or region, the height at which we are going to be, the activities we are going to do, the type of food offered locally, the type local currency exchange, places to stay, the type of transportation and so many things that will tell us if that is the right place we want to go and that will make our experience unforgettable …

… But, are we seriously considering how responsible our trip is going to be with the destination we decided to go to?

Well, surely the answer is: - I don't know!


Responsible travel means knowing the social, political, economic, cultural, geographical and environmental reality of the place we go to, so that our visit leaves a positive mark and our trip is the best we have ever done, putting into practice the theory of the principle of sustainability that involves the care and conservation of natural, cultural and economic resources so that they can also be enjoyed by subsequent generations.

Tourism is an economic activity that serves as a tool for social and economic development, the conservation of natural sites in the world and the preservation of culture, as long as it is well applied. There is a great responsibility of the traveler when planning his trip to do it in a responsible way, it is at this time when it is important to choose tours and tourism operators that propose visits to places with great tourist potential but with little promotion, instead of sites with large influx of people, indigenous communities and local towns rich in culture that propose unique experiences and allows us to reactivate the local economy by buying local products, handicrafts or hiring local labor as guides or food services, in instead of poor but common cultural visits.

Although it is true that many of these places do not have the adequate infrastructure for food or lodging since they are not places with a large influx of people and local people as well as large tourism companies do not have the interest of investing in these sites, without However, generating this flow of visitors will, at a given moment, allow these places to develop and propose options for visitors.

In Ecuador, respectively speaking, this type of visits to natural sites or places rich in culture can be generated very easily since it is a small country that allows us to move from one place to another in short times and distances and enjoy unforgettable experiences, unique, while enjoying of good accommodation and food that can be found nearby being these hotels, farms or community accommodation.

Being like this, we propose the following recommendations:

THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT:



One of the greatest challenges for humanity today is to care for and conserve the natural resources that we possess, and that is that environmental care has already reached points where the misuse of resources can put the survival of people at risk and not only of the species of animals and plants that are part of this ecosystem.

Many of the places of visit receive thousands and thousands of people who come to enjoy beaches, lush forests, lakes and lagoons, mountains, among others, but who unfortunately are also exposed to the environmental impact of receiving this large number of people: Erosion of soil, misuse of trails, destruction of flora and fauna, accumulation of garbage, poor management of wastewater and sewage, etc.

Condor Machai Waterfall - Near Cotopaxi Volcano 

In order to counteract this environmental damage, it is important to investigate places in the destination country that are not the most renowned and that have the characteristics of the places that we want to visit or activities that we want to do and thus decentralize tourism, we offload the weight in certain areas and we generate wealth in little crowded places.

As for example in Ecuador, if we like mountain activities such as walking or hiking in the highlands with a snow-capped volcano and lagoons within the landscape, we know that the Cotopaxi National Park is the option, but there are visitors arriving all the time and the experience in a natural environment could be ruin, so then, the propose can be to visit the Antisana Ecological Reserve which has a volcano, snowy mountains, lagoons, hiking trails and spectacular local flora and fauna.

In this way, we help to the protected areas and natural sites to be restored after a large influx of people.


THE CULTURAL ENVIRONMENT:¡


Otavalo - Traditional Family
South America is one of the continents with a great diversity of cultures, ancestral peoples that inhabit the different natural regions and that enjoy authentic traditions, local gastronomy, their own language, religion, rites and beliefs, proposing unique experiences that allow us to enrich ourselves with knowledge.
However, for the traditional tourist there are only few options, which are the most promoted and mentioned and which, of course, are the most developed due to the influx of visitors, which attracts investment in tourist, hotel, road and basic services infrastructure.

Over time and the large number of visitors these places begin to lose authenticity, local people focus on meeting the needs of visitors, needs that are demanded by customers who pay to get there and who expect that type of quality service , making it lose the essence of how genuine a culture can be and making this culture adapt to the consumer's requirement, thus losing its identity.

The proposal of the tourism operators should focus on diversifying the destinations and generating visits around unconventional places with great cultural wealth and that guarantees the visitor satisfaction of having been in an authentic place, the generation of this experience is not only taking the tourist remote places not very accessible that of course keep towns of great cultural value, but it is also possible to find authentic culture and tradition in towns where the main attraction is a handicraft market where a large part of the people are found selling their textiles or paintings or carvings.

We can get a little out of that center of commerce and visit small communities or typical houses where the experience is to live for a few hours with people who are engaged in agricultural production or animal husbandry or the manufacture of handicrafts, see the daily live of the people, knowing their reality, their family, their environment, all these  enriches our visit and gives value to the local culture, having of course an economic reward by buying the local product made at home or simply for the time they spend attending the arrival of the tourist who likes to learn about this culture and values ​​what is done locally.

Making tourism a responsible activity with the environment and with the local culture is the responsibility of both the tour operator and the tourist. It is time to change our habits and think that this trip we are planning can be much more valuable than simply satisfying our own need and consuming the local without leaving a payment beyond the economic.


Shiripuno River - Waorani Territory- Amazon Rain Forest- Ecuador

  • Not only is it enough to recycle waste, it is about not generating more waste.
  • It is not about paying to visit a destination, it is about valuing that destination and respecting it as it is.
  • It is not just about taking a tourist visit, it is about learning from this visit.


Tourism can be a much more beneficial activity if we know how to use it appropriately, reducing inequalities, distributing wealth equally and respecting and taking care of the environment.

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