How To Be An Ethical Traveler By Victoria Ugarte

“I have one share in corporate Earth, and I am nervous about the management.”
- E.B. White, American writer and author of Charlotte’s Web.

You and I know that traveling frequently does not equate with traveling smartly and responsibly. In fact, how many times have you witnessed an example of “the ugly tourist” when visiting a foreign country?

There’s the couple who visit Rajasthan and complain incessantly about the food, the language, the customs, and how the locals stare at them all the time. Or the 20-something European lady who tours the pyramids of Giza in transparent harem pants and a bra top because she claims it’s too hot to wear anything else. Or the girlfriends that giggle, chew gum, and text whilst in the confines of a Buddhist temple, then proceed to get drunk at a local bar later that night. As for Hollywood, it continues to rehash story lines that glorify the “ugly tourist” and call it comedy. You know the ones.

If the tourist is the consumer, then the raw materials of the industry are the culture of a people. Everyday, tourists trample across virgin jungle, pollute pristine waters, litter coastlines, and show little respect for religious sites and local customs, expecting indigenous people to perform on demand, so that we can put another tick on our bucket list and say, “Been there, done that.”. And like animals in a circus, locals continue to perform so that they may be the recipients of the almighty tourist dollar.

In the end, do we not destroy what it is that we initially value? More importantly, have we not all been guilty of this is some way, shape, or form?

Whether we are traveling on our own, with a significant other, or with a group, let’s not forget that the Earth is our homeland. I’d like to invite you to reflect on what it takes to be an ethical traveler:

  • An ethical traveler assists in generating economic benefits for the host communities.
  • An ethical traveler involves local people in decisions that affect the way that they live.
  • An ethical traveler conserves the natural and cultural heritage of the host communities, and respects the world’s diversity.
  • An ethical traveler seeks experiences through meaningful connections with local people and their culture, engendering local pride and confidence.
  • An ethical traveler is aware of the social and environmental issues of the host communities and minimizes negative economic, environmental, and social impacts.
Find out how to be culturally correct in your travels at all times, whatever the country you are visiting, by Clicking Here.

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