Responsible Tourism is tourism ‘that creates better places for people to live in, and better places to visit’.
As the green revolution slowly picks up speed globally, one finds that products on demand will have a market advantage if they carry a green label or brand. This is already quite well established in the manufacturing and agricultural industry with labels such as Rainforest Alliance and Fair Trade International that provide a brand to a product that essentially proves the product was produced in a responsible manner. This concept is now growing in the tourism industry. Tourists are more aware of environmental issues and will now make decisions on the choice of their holiday depending on how green the destination or product they are buying. Travel agents selling vacation packages have been quick to pick up on this concept and many agents are now green at home. This means they are compliant on key green issues, such as offering customers the opportunity to offset their carbon on flights, use energy saving bulbs in their offices, and make sure their staff have a workplace that does not impair their health. The stumbling block for many agents will be their product, they might be clean and green at home but what happens to all the holidays they sell, primarily in third world countries where the regulatory framework is behind the current trends and systems are not in place to verify claims. How can they sell a green holiday? The provision of local, on the ground accreditation bodies that can evaluate, report, and place an appropriate label on the performance of the ground operators and hotels will provide the agents with the mechanisms to a product that is green and compliant with the customer’s principles.
Responsible Tourism looks at a tourism operation and its ‘triple bottom line’ effect, so the economic, social and environmental impact of the tourism business. A responsible tourism business will therefore have processes to measure the impact in all three areas and will manage their day to day business using information collected by the business to improve where they can and mitigate any negative impact. A new organization was established in partnership with the Honeyguide Foundation that will effectively verify and certify responsible tourism businesses in Tanzania, the Responsible Tourism Tanzania. Click here to find out more>
Most communities have little knowledge of tourism and its impacts; this leaves the door wide open for abuse from tourism investors who can take advantage here. Honeyguide believes that it should be the aim of any investment in community land to be responsible and should be verified according to internationally accepted criteria from a 3rd party certification provider. Click here to find out more>
Certification requires a process that starts with coaching an enterprise (hotel or tour operator) through a few steps to set them up so that they can start to monitor their impacts. Following are three further stages which take an enterprise through a development framework that uses their economic, social and environmental impacts as the benchmark to measure success within the business. Click here to find out more about certification>