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5 myths about responsible tourism

My Magazine 2023/11
2 min
How important is it for you to travel responsibly? Do you consider the impacts of your actions and focus on trying to make choices with positive ripple effects? Those who travel responsibly are more socially, culturally and environmentally aware.

As part of building a strong tourism industry for the future, we all need to understand the role we have to play in acting and behaving responsibly. Companies and travellers must understand the impact of chosen travelling and how it leads the way in responsible tourism. The main concept of responsible tourism is to ensure the rights and needs of all those who support your holiday are respected.

Let's take a closer look at responsible tourism and some associated myths. By dispelling them, we hope to inspire more people to embrace responsible tourism and make a positive impact wherever their wanderlust takes them.

1. It is all about the environment

Environment protection and looking after the planet is everyone's responsibility. While protecting the environment is a crucial aspect of responsible tourism, it is not the only component.

Choosing holiday activities, accommodations, and environmentally friendly transportation methods benefits the planet. But that is just one facet of the travel experience. Responsible tourism also encompasses a much broader scope that includes social and cultural considerations. Being a responsible traveller means that every part of the travel experience positively impacts the welfare and well-being of the people, place and profit.

All types of tourism interact with these three entities. Sustainable tourism ensures that these are in use and benefit all three. If all types of tourism can implement sustainable tourism, it can be practised anywhere there is tourism. From the beach to the city, from the rural to the urban destinations.

2. It is expensive to travel responsibly

Price is a crucial factor when people choose a way of transport, accommodation type, individual workshops and trips. Being responsible means selecting tourist activities offered by individuals or companies that pay fairly to employees and guarantee that you will make a positive change for the place and communities you visit.

Generating fair income for people who help you to have unforgettable experiences and travelling in small groups to places that massive tourism doesn't reach might cost a little bit more. But this exchange forms the core of respectful, responsible trips.

Another essential aspect when it comes to costs and responsible tourism is budget travellers. Visiting rural areas, choosing homestays, using local transport, eating traditional food and using local guides doesn't mean you are not responsible for paying fairly. Every traveller should be responsible and leave tips or contribute fairly, even when people are too shy to charge or offer food or accommodation for free.

In any case, immersing yourself in local cultures, participating in community-based projects, or exploring nature can create memories that last a lifetime without breaking the bank.

3. It is mainly focused on rural areas with less comfort options

Areas and types of accommodations do not define responsibility. Choosing less-known places will undoubtedly make a positive impact on communities, remote villages, accommodation places and people involved in the tourism industry. Especially in areas where tourists rarely find world-known attractions and infrastructure still needs much improvement. But every level and style of travel can be done in a responsible manner.

You can choose luxury holidays and pleasantly enjoy your trip while eating from local eateries, volunteering or donating to a worthy cause that helps the local community, supports the preservation of local cultures, contributes to local economies, and helps protect the environment and wildlife.

4. It is difficult to determine responsible companies

In an era where information is easy to access, it is no longer difficult to determine if the companies act responsibly.

Some of the important aspects that you can take a look at and find out about are which companies are giving back to communities, treat and pay their staff well, buy from local vendors, support locally made products, contribute to environmental projects, animal preservation and protection projects, support local artisans, and grassroots initiatives, reduce waste, water and energy, have a policy of no single-use plastics, etc.

You have to find out if the company encourages travellers to learn about and respect local customs, traditions, and ways of life, aims to preserve cultural heritage and promote cultural exchange, encourages travellers to participate in a traditional ceremony, learn a traditional craft, or visiting historical sites, allows travellers to appreciate and contribute to the preservation of cultural diversity and empower local communities economically and socially. The company's size may not matter, but acting responsibly is all that matters if you are a conscious traveller.

5. It is suitable only for eco and environmental activists

Responsible tourism is not limited to any specific group of people. Conscious travel is a way of tourism and mindset that seeks to minimize the negative impacts of travel and maximize the positive ones. It is about being mindful of your choices and taking actions that benefit the environment, local communities, and cultural preservation. It applies to anyone who wants to make a positive impact while travelling.

By making conscious choices and embracing the principles of responsible tourism, you can contribute to a more sustainable and empowered future for both the destinations you visit and the world at large.

We at My Gambia give strong meaning to responsible and sustainable tourism. All our products are based on fair income distribution, contribution to the preservation of the environment, support of local communities, empowerment of marginalized groups, and inspiring others to embrace sustainable and ethical practices.

We love to connect solo and independent travellers to form small groups who want to stay away from massive tourism activities and all-to-well-known attractions and are eager to explore the culture and nature of The Gambia for a reasonable price, safely and with trusted and experienced guides.

If you travel with us, you will travel responsibly and contribute to generating income for individuals, communities and associations.

Together, we can create a more sustainable and responsible future and make a change in the Gambian and worldwide tourism industry.

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