Sunday, September 17, 2006

Ethical Travel

"[Y]ou decide to go on holiday in Kenya, a country famous for its tourism. Kenya is glad to welcome you for tourism is its biggest foreign exchange earner. You book through you local, high street UK travel agent. All well and good, and certainly very convenient for you, the customer. Your holiday costs around 1500 pounds. Of that 40 per cent goes to the airline and 20 per cent to the tour operator. That leaves Kenya with 40 per cent. But that is not the end of the story because a quarter of that 40 per cent goes on imports(essential for keeping the tourists in the manner to which they have become accustomed) while nearly a third is used to service Kenya's debt. [N]one of this however reaches the Maasai, the pastoralist people who have lived for generations alongside the elephants and lion, wildebeests and antelopes, the animals you have come to see. But in fact, many Maasai no longer tend their cattle on the great grasslands. Displaced from their land to create wildlife parks, they live on the margins. The only way they can benefit from tourism is to give up their culture and go to work as waiters, dancers or souvenir-makers."~Ethical Travel Guide

I, like many enjoy traveling. In fact, I like it a lot. But I dread and hate the thought that modern commercial travel can adversely affect local people and the local environment. I try and reduce my footprint as much as possible. But... Is that good enough ?

The Ethical Travel Guide by the folks at Tourism Concern UK looks at tourism in our present age of globalization. The dark side and the negative impacts. The book makes the case for travel to be both enjoyable and ethical. Enjoyed and welcomed both by the locals and the tourists. Travel that would naturally motivate communities to protect biodiversity and beauty and take pride in their culture. In other words, travel that has a positive footprint. The book provides a long list of small, independent and good natured operations around the world. I found it a great read and hope to put it to use the next time around.

Here are some from my home state of Kerala, that look promising


Chris said...

Hey, have you seen the movie, "Who Killed the Electric Car?" -- I just saw it last week, and it was quite good.

I was going to post about it sometime... haven't gotten around to it yet tho.

One More Reason said...

I have been wanting to see it. Can't seem to find a theatre that is playing it

Prabhu said...

Wild Kerala tours looks quite nice...Silent Valley trek brings out some nostalgic and some yet to be completed day...

One More Reason said...

Prabhu, Yes...One day