Responsible tourism is a term used to describe a way of traveling that minimizes any negative social, economic, cultural or environmental impact in the country being visited. In addition, responsible tourism attempts to boost these sectors, by creating a space for positive exchanges between locals and tourists. Responsible tourism is more than a form of tourism; it is a behavior and a mindset that acknowledges the responsibility of the tourist to give back to the country he or she has been welcomed into. Although there are varying degrees of responsible tourism that depend on the country and the goals of the governments and incoming tourists.
Whatever you prefer to call it ‘sustainable tourism’ or ‘eco-tourism’ or ‘green tourism’ but the definition remains same; environmental-friendly tourism that cherishes not destroys. Green or Sustainable Tourism has been described as “managing tourism’s impacts on the environment, communities and the economy to make sure that the effects are positive rather than negative for the benefit of future generations”. As far as we are concerned, green tourism is about creating new opportunities for tourism and encouraging the development of existing tourism enterprises with minimum impact on wildlife and the environment. We believe that sustainable green tourism makes important sense for the long term, and taps into a growing demand for holidays that leave the smallest possible 'footprint' on the environment and local communities.
Some Important Guideline to Practice Responsible Tourism in Himalayan Kingdom
- Please inform yourself of and respect each culture, politics, and social expectations before your arrival in the country.
- If you are unsure about a particular custom and how you should be responding, please ask your host family. Do not assume or try to guess what is appropriate, respectfully asking is always preferable.
- When visiting holy places, ask before entering. Many times you will be permitted to enter, but some temples are solely for practitioners.
- Always ask before taking someone’s photograph or photographing a holy site.
- While traveling throughout Himalayan Kingdom, help sustain local business by favoring businesses that conserve cultural heritage and traditional values. For example, support local restaurants and other businesses catered toward the western tourist. When thinking of buying souvenirs for friends and family back home, consider buying crafts made locally.
- When purchasing food goods during your stay, give preference to local produce rather than imported goods, to minimize your carbon footprint.
- When considering traveling to Himalayan Kingdom, it is important to note that not all dietary needs can be met. People who practice a gluten-free or vegetarian diet may find it difficult to maintain a balanced diet. However, the Nepalese diet consists primarily of Dal Bhat, white rice and lentils and Tibetan Momos, Tsampa etc can be prefered for nutricious diet.
- Do not buy goods made from endangered species or ancient artifacts as it will only encourage sellers to continue this line of work.
- Do your best to ensure that the businesses you are supporting are environmentally conscious. The greener, the better! It is always best if companies have a written environmental policy. It is also important to know how many local people they employ, and how they treat water waste.
- Please, use water sparingly! Clean water is a precious resource in Himalayan Kingdom and should not be taken for granted.
- Avoid bringing things with you that will contribute to local pollution. Bring as few plastic bags, disposable water bottles and toiletries, wrappers, and the like from your home country. Instead, try to bring things that you will keep with you. If you do need disposable items, do your best to purchase them in country where you are visiting, so that you are not bringing waste into the country.
- Be mindful! Keep in mind that the goal is to give back to the local communities, and fulfill our social and environmental responsibilities. During your stay, The country where you travel will be your new home, just remember to treat it as such by integrating your quotidian practices as best you can!
All it takes to be a responsible tourist is a little more attention to detail. With the country's future in mind, through your mindfulness local communities will benefit through economic development, job creation, and a positive rapport between local people and responsible tourists.