For over 25 years, the term “eco-tourism” has been used to identify destination and travel practices that are intended to have a positive impact on the environments visited. While these efforts are well intentioned, there are no generally agreed upon standards by which a level of accomplishment can be measured. In fact, there are almost 100 different organizations in the world that offer varying levels of “certification” or recognition as an “eco-tourism” destination or company. In many people’s eyes, “eco-tourism” has become more of a marketing label than a meaningful measure of real achievement.
Responsible Wildlife Conservation Travel
Many people came to realize that “eco-tourism,” even when highly effective, addressed only one dimension of the real world. As more effective strategies were examined, “sustainability” joined the language of travel descriptions and eventually led to the concept of responsible travel. With our focus on wildlife destinations, World Safaris promotes responsible Wildlife ConservationTravel.
So what is responsible wildlife conservation travel?
Simply stated, responsible wildlife conservation travel encompasses actions that address three major issues:
- Encourage and participate in the protection of the local environments within which we travel.
- Provide economic benefits to the local communities – benefits that assist the communities on their terms. In other words, support those aspects of their lives that the local communities determine are important to them – as opposed to projects that arise from the priorities of people outside the community.
- Respect the cultures and traditions of the local communities, including honoring their sacred places.
Quoting Lonely Planet, “Traveling by the responsible travel ethos is one of the most direct and personal ways you can make a difference to some of the biggest issues affecting our world: poverty and peace. Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem – and have the time of your life doing it.”