Responsible Tourism

 

responsible-tourism2Increased human activities, such as logging, clearing land for agriculture, hunting and gathering fuelwood, are degrading both protected areas and the land surrounding them. As a non-extractive activity, ecotourism offers a sustainable way of using these areas and an opportunity to promote sustainable social and economic development. For example, by taking tourists to a country to see its wildlife, not only are a range of local employment opportunities created, but the association between protecting wildlife and a healthier economy indicates to both local people and national government alike the importance of conservation, and the great potential of national parks and wildlife reserves..

SRT – Sustainable and Responsible Tourism

 

Biodiversity and Tourism

Tourism is often described as the world’s “biggest industry” on the basis of its contribution to global GDP, the number of jobs it generates and the number of client it serves, wildlife holidays is one of the fastest growing components of it. The rate at which tourism continues to grow presents both opportunities and threats for biodiversity conservation.

Over the past three decades, major losses of virtually every kind of natural habitat and the decline and extinction of species have occurred. Many of the ecosystems in decline provide attractions for tourism development. These include coastal and marine areas, coral reefs, mountains, and rainforests, which support a wide range of activities, including beach tourism, skiing, trekking, and wildlife viewing. An assessment and reduction of negative impacts is complex since there are so many countries and operators involved, and such a wide range of tourist requirements on the one hand, and local needs on the other. There is also a need to appreciate the great many positive benefits that tourism can bring, particularly to developing countries and to local/rural communities, and for tour operators to focus on, and maximise these.

Increased human activities, such as logging, clearing land for agriculture, hunting and gathering fuelwood, are degrading both protected areas and the land surrounding them. As a non-extractive activity, ecotourism offers a sustainable way of using these areas and an opportunity to promote sustainable social and economic development. For example, by taking tourists to a country to see its wildlife, not only are a range of local employment opportunities created, but the association between protecting wildlife and a healthier economy indicates to both local people and national government alike the importance of conservation, and the great potential of national parks and wildlife reserves.In many fragile ecosystems, tourism has been growing and increasingly linked to the unique natural environments and biodiversity found in these areas. Maintaining an un-spoilt and attractive destination contributes greatly to visitor satisfaction, conserves the area’s biodiversity and contributes to the well being of local people.

There is a need for all of us working in the industry to ensure that such positive aspects of tourism are developed, and all negative aspects reduced or avoided. By developing a "responsible" approach to tourism which contributes to the long-term future of a country's wildlife, people, culture and heritage we believe, in our small way, that we are helping the cause of ‘sustainable’ tourism. Today's tour operators are increasingly recognising the need for greater transparency and accountability which can be aided by the provision of a company statement or policy on Responsible Tourism. To date, there are no universal standards for a Responsible Tourism Policy although there are several bodies (including the United Nations, World Travel Organisation, ResponsibleTravel , Nature.org, Ecotourism and Ecotour) which offer advice to travellers and guidelines for tour operators. It is ultimately up to each individual tour operator to design a Responsible Tourism Policy of their own that sets attainable standards for the company and clients alike.

Spanish Nature, along with other and notable wildlife tour operators, regards the development of a detailed Responsible Tourism Policy by every tour operator as an essential step forward. You will find below, firstly Spanish Nature’s recommendations to you, our customer (the Tourist!) and secondly, our policy.

Click on next to go to - Our Guidelines

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