When we visit beautiful places it's natural to want our holidays to have a positive impact on local people and their environments. Responsible travel is about more authentic holiday experiences that enable you to get a little bit more out of your travels, and give a little bit more back to destinations and local people. All holidays have positive and negative impacts locally. Responsible travel maximises the benefits, and minimises the negative effects of tourism.

The Responsible Tourist and Traveller

" The Responsible Tourist and Traveller" brochure was approved by the World Committee on Tourism Ethics in May 2005 and endorsed by UNWTO resolution A/RES/506(XVI) adopted at Dakar, Senegal, in December 2005, by which the General Assembly recommends the dissemination of this text to the travelling public worldwide.

Download "The Responsible Tourist and Traveller" brochure English

Before you book your holiday

Before you book your holiday

  • Ask to see the holiday company's policy for responsible tourism. It should be on their website, but if it isn't then ask them for it.
  • Ask your hotel or accommodation some searching questions to see if they are as eco, green or ethical as they claim to be.
  • Plan your route to minimise carbon emissions - travel by train where possible, minimise internal flights and use other public transport methods when necessary.
  • For many people it is important that a travel company or accommodation has an accessibility policy, and supports travellers with special needs.
  • Read up on the principles of Leave No Trace
Before you Travel

Before you Travel

  • Read up on local cultures and learn a few words of the local language - travelling with respect earns you respect.
  • Remove all excess packaging - waste disposal is difficult in remote places and developing countries.
  • Ask your travel company for specific tips for responsible travel in your destination.
  • Bring environmentally friendly products with you.
  • Ask if there are useful gifts that you could pack for your hosts, local people or schools.
  • Be aware if there are any excursions on your trips that involve wild or captive animals.
  • Ask whether they are local conservation or social projects that you could visit on your trip.
While on Holiday

While on Holiday

  • Buy local produce in preference to imported goods.
  • Hire a local guide - you'll discover more about local culture and lives, and they will earn an income.
  • Be careful what you buy - do not buy products made from endangered species, hard woods or ancient artefacts.
  • Respect local cultures, traditions and holy places - if in doubt ask advice or don't visit.
  • Use public transport, hire a bike or walk when convenient - it's a great way to meet local people on their terms and reduce pollution and carbon emissions
  • Use water sparingly - it's very precious in many countries and tourists tend to use far more than local people
  • Remember that local people have different ways of thinking and concepts of time, this just makes them different not wrong - cultivate the habit of asking questions (rather than the Western habit of knowing the answers).
When you Get Back

When you Get Back

  • Write to your tour operator or hotel with any comments or feedback about your holiday, and especially include any suggestions on reducing environmental impacts and increasing benefits to local communities.
  • For any serious issues regarding human rights abuses or wildlife exploitation for tourism you may also want to contact relevant charities, from Amnesty Intwernational to WWF, or the embassy of the country.
  • If you've promised to send pictures or gifts to local people remember to do so, many are promised and not all arrive!
  • Enjoy the memories, reflect on your experience and start planning your next trip!