‘Let’s Unravel Travel’ Series
Our latest dispatches series brings you stories from positive grassroots initiatives and a personal account of some not-so-good tourism activities happening on the ground. Amy, Wild Asia’s Responsible Tourism Initiative’s latest recruit, shares some first hand experiences from India.
Praise for the goodies!
Kabani and Uravu homestays (Kerala, India)
Kabani is an ethical tourism campaigner, championing human rights in tourism across Southern India. It has partnered with an inspiring community bamboo cooperative to develop a fantastic homestay programme. In an area where farming is experiencing some devastating downturns, villagers have got together to create a sustainable tourism model to benefit the lives of the inhabitants. Tourists can come to the quiet village of Thrikkaipetta and stay with local families, immersing themselves in real Keralan culture for an authentic holiday. Villagers benefit from a range of capacity building training from English language, to sustainable farming; more than 1000 people have benefitted from these courses. More information (link to website)
- Developed first India based map of identifying responsible tourism issues
- Featured in Tourism Concern’s Ethical Travel Guide
Some things that have got me worried…
Local people’s access to public places in Varkala (India)
Varkala is at the heart of Kerala’s prized coastline. Despite being a well established beach resort, most of the development has been done sympathetically and it retains a low key atmosphere and the beach is impressively clean. However, witnessing local guys accused of ‘boob watching’ and ushered away from a part of the beach that’s ‘not for Indian’s’ is pretty disturbing stuff. Girls, put them away if it’s not acceptable and infringes on local’s values.
The need for Responsible Tourism and Wild Asia
These positive stories highlight the need for responsible tourism everywhere in the world and showcase that tourism can be a force for good. These are just a small handful of inspirational schemes that are out there. But the benefits to local people speak for themselves. Wild Asia’s Responsible Tourism Awards recognises best practice in responsible tourism, rewarding businesses by giving them the recognition they deserve. More information on our Awards.
Wild Asia has been championing responsible tourism for over ten years. But we know that in many destinations there is still a lot of work to be done. Wild Asia can provide bespoke training courses for tourism operators to raise awareness on how to reduce environmental impacts or ensure local communities benefit from tourism. The sad stories of poor tourism development show troubles from the top and bottom. Wild Asia continues to work with industry level groups to influence how tourism operates and travelers must remember to take responsibility into their own hands. Please get in touch if you are a tourism business and would like to inquire about responsible tourism training.
(Photos: Amy McLoughlin)