AITR – Italian Association for Responsible Tourism
There are no bad travelers, only ill-informed travelers exist.
AITR is a non-governmental and non-profit association; it has no profit-making intentions, either direct or indirect. AITR is inspired by ethical and democratic principles and so promotes and coordinates activities that support a tourism that is responsible, sustainable and ethical. It aims to raise awareness among citizens, promote lifestyles and a consumerism that is fair to all involved.
Defining responsible tourism
Responsible tourism is tourism that is carried out according to principles of social and economic justice and with full respect toward the environment and cultures. Responsible tourism recognizes the centrality of the local host community and its right to be protagonist in devoting sustainable and responsible tourism in its native land. Responsible tourism encourages the positive interaction between the tourist industry, local communities and travelers.
Everyone of us might be a “good traveler” caring for the world and people around, just following some easy behavioral rules before, during and after the journey.
– Get as much information as you can about the country you are going to visit: its history, culture, economy, nature, religion, cuisine… and perhaps even learn a few phrases in the local language.
– If you can, choose tour operators, airlines and hotels that are committed to benefiting the host community and the environment.
– Remember that your holiday is also a moment in which you encounter a different culture. Try to adapt to local practices and customs without imposing your own habits and lifestyle.
– Even if you have paid for your holiday try to keep to local rules; don’t insist on demanding privileges or exceptions; don’t act offensively or arrogantly. Find out about local practices of tipping and begging.
– Wear appropriate clothing that is not too ostentatious especially at religious sites. Don’t show off wealth and luxury that may contrast dramatically with local conditions.
– Help sustain local cultural events and craftwork; this way you will take home ‘real’ souvenirs and help the host community at the same time. Make sure you know about how and when to haggle over prices.
– The world’s wealth is in its variety – do your best to act cordially, with respect and without prejudice in your dealings with local people but without, of course, abandoning due caution.
– Use services provided by local population particularly for transport and hospitality services. This will help you get to know the country and its people better while contributing to the local economy.
– Leave behind only your footprints but no trace of your passage – no rubbish, no graffiti. Don’t take ‘keepsakes’ from the environment or archeological sites. Don’t purchase products made from plants or animals threatened with extinction (e.g. ivory, skins, shells…)
– When you are outdoors and particularly in protected areas, keep to paths, don’t disturb plants, animals and their environment. Visit protected areas only in small groups and with expert guides, even better if they are local.
– By turning off taps, the air conditioning and lights in your hotel room when you go out, you will help save water and energy – precious resources for the entire planet.
– People are not part of the landscape – ask permission before taking their photos.
– Have fun tasting local foods – you’ve got the rest of the year for your home cooking or international cuisine.
– Remember that there are no populations that are ‘anthropologically predisposed’ to prostitution, that consent from minors is totally irrelevant, that the collusion of families, hoteliers or the police is not and alibi. The legislation of many countries condemns sexual crimes committed abroad by their citizens.
– When you get home, take time to reflect on what you have seen and the people you met. If you make promises to anyone – to send a postcard, photos or to do a small favor – do your best to keep your word.
– If you noticed any serious or intolerable situations, get in touch with your travel agent or tour operator.
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