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Responsible Travel and Ecotourism
There is a growing trend amongst tourists from western nations to visit remote destinations and see unique landscapes, which are very often home to some of the poorest people on this planet. There is a dichotomy that arises from this, as the elements of these destinations that attract these tourists are also those that are most at risk of damage from tourism. The 'unique landscapes' that interest visitors tend to be, by their very nature, fragile ecosystems that cannot support large numbers of tourists. The 'remote destinations' are often populated by indigenous cultures, whose customs and traditions may be vulnerable to the over-bearing western culture of tourists.
BAOBAB Travel believes that it is the responsibility of tour operators to recognise this dichotomy and to put in place strict codes of conduct to minimise the potential for these negative effects. Furthermore, if managed appropriately, BAOBAB believes that tourism has an enormous capacity to bring benefits to these destinations by bringing much needed economic growth and supporting development and conservation efforts.
BAOBAB Travel has several Fair Trade Tourism certified travel packages in South Africa and a clear a Responsible Travel Policy that outlines the codes of conduct to which we are committed to operate. This policy ensures that we offer a form of sustainable tourism that benefits host communities economically and is sensitive to indigenous cultures and the environment. To ensure fair working conditions for the staff, including porters, working on our Kilimanjaro Treks we have a special Kilimanjaro Porters Policy in place.
Are you confused by the different terms used around Responsible Travel and Eco-Tourism? Why not check out The Nine Labels for Ethical Travel. You might find it enlightening or even more confusing .