Is Tourism Destroying The Planet, Or Saving It?
The question of ethical tourism is one near and dear to our hearts here at Blue World Journeys. We constantly ask ourselves what impact do our tours have on the lives of the people in the countries we travel to and what the environmental impact is of our tours. We want to make the world a better place, but is what we’re doing achieving that goal. Is tourism destroying the planet, or saving it?
As a responsible tour operator we go to great lengths to ensure that the impact of what we do is positive, and we strive to keep as much of our clients’ money within the local community being visited.
We do this by working exclusively with guides and suppliers who are local to the area being visited, by working with locally owned boutique hotels and by encouraging our clients who are physically able to do activities like walking tours where possible.
Unfortunately, this is not the case with worldwide tourism. A large part of the industry focuses on the ‘get it now, get it cheap’ approach to tourism, with no consideration for what travelers leave behind after their visit. The impact of this has proved to be disastrous in certain parts of the world.
A fascinating, feature-length documentary studying the impact of world tourism has recently been released. Gringo Trails is the brainchild of Anthropologist Pegi Vail, and was a decade in the making. It focuses on the effect of mismanaged and unplanned growth of tourism in the developing world. Spanning Africa, Asia and South America, the movie follows stories along the ‘gringo trail’ of tourism to reveal the complex relationship between the colliding cultures of tourists in their quest for authentic experiences and the host countries that are desperate to profit from the huge revenues tourism brings.
It’s definitely worth watching and will make you question the ethical, environmental and cultural impact of your next vacation, and ask yourself whether tourism is destroying the planet or saving it.
Here’s a preview of the movie.