At Responsible Travel we campaign for change in the tourism industry on issues that we are passionate about. We do this because we want to help protect our favourite places, cultures and wildlife from unethical practices and irresponsible tourism. We want to create a more caring tourism industry. Over recent years we've formed relationships with activists, local communities, NGOs and people who think differently about tourism - they bring the issues to our attention if we don't spot them first.
Burma, when to boycott or not
In 2011, Responsible Travel lifted its tourism boycott on Myanmar (Burma). This is the only country we have ever boycotted, in response to a request from Aung San Suu Kyi in response to the appalling human rights abuses and lack of democracy imposed by the ruling military junta. This is the only country we have ever boycotted – find out more about why we chose to do this
, why we lifted the boycott and in which situations we believe tourism boycotts
can – and can’t – work.
Stop the ivory trade
It seems totally shocking that elephants are still being poached illegally for their ivory. Especially given the fact there was a worldwide ban on the sale of ivory in In 1989. This global embargo is due to end in 2017, and new terms are to be negotiated at the all important Convention on International Trade in International Species (Cites) conference in 2016. One shocking fact in the run up to this is that the EU is, at present, NOT supporting a continuation of the worldwide ban. So, watch this space and in the meantime, we support the pioneering work of Born Free and their campaign Bloody Ivory, working tirelessly all over the world to stop the supply and demand of ivory. Forever. Wherever. Whenever. Please read more
and support them too.
Educating travellers about responsible tourism
Travellers are becoming more and more aware of the impacts their holidays can have in the world, compared with even ten years ago when so many people turned a blind eye to bad ways simply because we think that we all deserve a break. At Responsible Travel we try to educate rather than lecture. With tips that how easily we can turn negative impacts to positive ones, engage with communities not just stay within gated ones, understand conservation not just tick off safari sightings, think local and think slow. While still enjoying holidays of a lifetime in places that need us to give a little something back too.
Fly less, make it count
If we had a dollar for every time someone said to us ‘there is no such thing as responsible tourism. The minute you fly you are being irresponsible’, we would have a lot of money to donate to good causes. At Responsible Travel we fully accept that flying emits carbon. However, we do not agree with environmentalists who say that we should stop flying altogether as so many local people around the world depend on tourism for jobs and livelihoods. Nor do we encourage travellers to offset in order to ‘offset’ their guilt for flying. We do encourage them to fly less, stay for longer and make their holidays count locally. While also changing their carbon usage at home and, of course at work. Read more about our carbon caution and advice
Had enough of mass tourism
We run many campaigns at Responsible Travel, but Had Enough, which we ran in 2004, emanated from research that showed nearly three quarters of travellers we interviewed had had enough of destruction caused by mass tourism. The campaign sought to persuade the likes of Thomas Cook and Thomson Holidays to publish responsible tourism policies - which they did very shortly after our campaign launched. Since then, some of the big tourism companies have improved, but many haven’t. For example, almost 90 percent of all inclusive holiday sales stay in the UK, water consumption in tourism in drought ridden countries is unethical, coastlines are destroyed, villagers displaced, families forced into poverty and children into sex tourism. It is not a pretty picture. Which is why, at Responsible Travel, we still campaign for change. Read more about our campaign
World Responsible Tourism Awards
In 2004 we founded the annual World Responsible Tourism Awards
. Not only because we believe that these pioneering organisations and individuals deserve a huge pat on the back, but also because we want everyone in the world to know about them. These Awards have been a huge success with over 400 people and organisations taking centre stage at the World Travel Market every year to take their well deserved moment in the limelight. From wildlife conservationists to walking guides, hotels to homestays, tour operators to travel writers, these awards have come to represent the ethos that drives us at Responsible Travel: to help people live their dreams through authentic and life-enriching adventures, to ensure local people and wildlife benefits and to be a catalyst for change in the tourism industry.