I want to speak to you this morning about “Responsible Tourism”. As kids we grow up knowing that you : Do not litter, Do not feed the animals, Do not touch things that do not belong to you. However there is a new menace in the world that many do not even realize exists. In our zeal to seek out more realistic experiences, tourism is actually having a negative impact in some countries.
The next time you decide to forego the hotel and instead sublet an apartment or house, think about the long term consequences this could have on that community. Yes the COMMUNITY. Let’s step back a moment…. exactly what IS the definition of “community”? Webster defines “community” as:
1.a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common
2. a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
3. a group of interdependent organisms of different species growing or living together in a specified habitat.
You all have these communities that you live, work, and grow in every day. Thru your sense of community you have developed long term friendships, raised families, and in some cases even built businesses. The home you LIVE in is part of a living and growing “community”. You live there and you have a vested interest in its growth.
When you visit a location and you stay in a Hotel or Resort you are actually helping the community to grow. By you making that reservation you are helping to provide job and money for people to take back to their communities to help them grow. Unfortunately landlords are starting to see dollar signs. They are evicting the long term tenants in favor of listing their dwelling on-line for big bucks from tourists looking to “live like a local”. Locals who have helped create that community are now finding themselves without a place to live. Some have even lost their way of supporting their families because their tiny community shop has been rented or sold to provide a temporary dwelling for a tourist.
Below is a letter to tourists in a hotel in Lisbon, Australia:
Tourist have no “fellowship”, “common attitude”, “interest”, or “goals” with the residents of that area. They are simply there to have a good time and go home. THIS is upsetting that balance of the community. Below is a letter from Lisbon, but there are stories about this happening all over the world. This movement of “living like a local” is creating huge “tourist ghettos” in what were once thriving communities.
We always here people raving about our impacts on wildlife. When will we stop to think about our impact on the lives of PEOPLE?
Travel is great! It opens your eyes to the lives of others, but please, travel responsibly. When you travel take only memories and leave only footprints.