Responsible Traveller and Tourism
Adapted from the association ATR, to Act for Responsible Tourism.
Two worlds meet every time a person moves from one country to another. We are travellers, tourists, discoverers.
There are many ways to travel and to understand other environments, but inevitably we leave traces on our way.
We must all be responsible travellers. Here are a few steps to follow when travelling to ensure that we leave places better than we found them for the next people who explore them.
Traveller Ethics Charter
We would like to thank all those who contributed to the development of this text. It has contributed to us receiving certification towards a Responsible Tourism awarded by Ecocert.
The proposals and the advice on this page are things that most of us will already know and act on. Nevertheless, this little reminder can be beneficial. Have a good read and especially a good trip!
Responsible Traveller: Respect is The Guarantee of a Better Meeting
While travelling we will meet a diversity of peoples and cultures. Every culture, religion, and way of life is subject to its own rules and traditions that should be respected and understood, rather than judged. This respect translates into simple, day-to-day attitudes.
- We all come from different backgrounds and learnings and what might be normal to us at home might be when we travel.
- Hosts take care of their guests as best as they can but might not know every individual expectation. If unsure about certain things (meal times, what’s on your plate, local customs), please ask and learn. It is your first step in immersing yourself in the culture and gives you an authentic experience.
Responsible Tourism: Leave Only Footprints
Natural spaces and cultural sites are often the main tourist attractions of a country. Travellers, therefore, have a responsibility to protect the environment of the host country.
“Cultural heritage records history for future generations”
The main causes of degradation of vulnerable heritage areas include inappropriate restorations, pollution, the forces of nature, and the impact of tourism. Simple gestures, such as touching a marble statue or a fresco cause irreversible damage when they are repeated thousands of times by visitors. Even though they have survived for many years they can still be damaged by our actions.
When travelling, keep this thought in mind and join the communal effort to protect our worldwide heritage.
As a responsible traveller:
- Avoid touching or marking works of art, sites or monuments (e.g. no graffiti or tagging),
- leave everything where you found it, including shells, plants, pieces of carved stone,
- don’t move stones and large objects,
- keep off sites and monuments that aren’t made for climbing,
- keep your backpack and belongings from hitting decorated walls and paintings,
- pack all your rubbish and take it to suitable recycling or rubbish bins,
- and respect the measures taken by the governmental authorities with regard to the regulation of tourist flows or entry to the sites, as well as the policies of development, the restoration, and preservation of monuments.
For more information:
- ECPAT International: www.ecpat.net
- The International Ecotourism Society: www.ecotourism.org
- WTO (World Tourism Organization): www.world-tourism.org > “infoshop” section
- UNEP (United Nations Environment Program)
- Conservation International: www.conservation.org
- UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization): www.unesco.org
- ICCROM (International Center for the Study of the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property): www.iccrom.org
- ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) www.international.icomos.org