Responsible tourism is like sustainable tourism, however as often the word sustainability is often overused and not understood, responsible tourism has been adopted as a term used by industry.
Responsible tourism is any form of tourism that can be consumed in a more responsible way.
Responsible tourism is tourism which:
minimizes negative social, economic and environmental impacts
generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of host communities
improves working conditions and access to the industry
involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances
makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage embracing diversity
provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues
provides access for physically challenged people
is culturally sensitive, encourages respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence.
‘Responsible tourism’ that is guided by ethical practices and cultural sensitivity is the need of the hour. Ethical travel is being mindful of our impact while we travel and maximizing all the positive impacts and minimizing the negative.
Travelers’ participating in tribal tourism should be sensitized about the community they are visiting and treat tribes’ not as cultural relics but as fellow humans living in a diverse environment. As a matter of courtesy and cross-cultural sensitivity, travellers should seek permission before taking photographs of indigenous people, or indeed any local people. Tourists must be educated on the negative impact tribal tourism can have on the indigenous communities. On a more formal level, the government must lay down rules regarding activities carried out in tribal tourism. Rules should also delineate the role of travel agencies and companies and the extent to which they can participate in tribal tourism activities. Moreover, every tourism activity in indigenous and protected areas must be monitored and sanctioned by a team of professionals that will evaluate the risks of the same. Just because a tourist advertisement carries the name of an eco-lodge or green destination does not mean they have taken indigenous land rights and welfare into account. The difference between green tourism, eco-tourism and sustainable tourism, and many of the same concerns apply when considering the tribal or community tourism.
Tourism can be beneficial to tribes if attempts are made to involve tribes in tourist activity as partners. Of course, we must allow them the right to make their own decisions about their involvement in tourism. Successful community tourism projects are the result of extensive cooperation between a community and a tourism expert, who knows exactly how to facilitate a form of tourism that is led by and empowers the people in that community. If people become aware of the commercial and social value placed on their natural and cultural heritage, they will be active participants in tourism development. The government can arrange for imparting necessary skills to tribes to operate tourism in their areas with proper understanding about the pros and cons of tourism. With the help of a facilitator, the community can conduct a sustainable tourist venture by increasing their capacity to ensure benefit from tourism, both in terms of marketing and interweaving tourism with conservation of resources and community development. Tribes can explore the opportunities such as home stays, guiding and promoting handicrafts. In tribal tourism, the tribal is important not only as a language translator but as a cultural translator as well.