Changing tourism for the better may be something some think about, but don’t act on it for believing it’s a utopic concept. It might look that way, but if we give it a second thought we might find it is not and we can all do our bit to make it possible. Because we all criticise some practices and actions, we all see it’s wrong, but when it’s time to make changes and be proactive we all seem to put it all into the “too hard basket”. That’s what needs to change if we want to change tourism.
Fancy resorts, hidden poverty and child labour
A lot of people love to travel to a paradisiac destination and stay in a fancy resort. In most cases, the prices and quite good and they can live like celebrities away from the reality of the world. I agree, that it’s wonderful to stay away from the real world once in a while, but we can’t forget that the real world doesn’t stop rolling and it might be right at our doorstep, even though the resort tries desperately to hide it from us.
Sometimes, there might be child labour and extreme poverty that we can’t see in the beauty of our resorts. The cheap souvenirs we buy might have been produced by a 9-year-old child or an adult working 24 hours a day. It is wrong and we should be aware of it. Some might claim that by spending money in the country they are helping those people have a better life, I think we all wish it was like that, but we all know it is not.
Animal exploitation and cruelty
Another very popular attraction is animal tricks and rides. They have been around for centuries and the reality is that we are quite used to them. However, we all know the horrible conditions those animals live in. Some are drugged to be able to perform, others are malnourished or both. By paying for those events we are just adding to the problem.
You might mention the zoos, yes they have animals in captivity and we pay to see them there. Although is not an ideal arrangement, the zoos take care of those animals. Some were already born in captivity, so unfortunately, they wouldn’t survive if they were released into the wild. Most zoos also have breeding programs and they help endangered species. Some animals are bred and then released in the wild as part of these programs. So I guess they are there for the animals.
Now how can we change tourism? We know these things happen, we know it is not right. But hiding our heads in the white sand or the expensive cotton linen is not the answer, we need to do something and that will eventually change tourism. If we are aware of the impact our actions have on others, we might be able to make better choices, which in time will change habits.
Choosing more ethical options will help make the change because if there is no demand for it there won’t be an offer and the practice will eventually stop. Better education and better choices will eventually make better practices that will change the way we see and do tourism.