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What is Responsible Travel?

by Kerry Lorimer

Get the most out of your family holiday experiences while giving back to the local community.


What is responsible travel?'Responsible Travel’ has grown out of the concept of ‘eco-tourism’, and recognises that the principles of eco-tourism should not simply be applied to the natural environment: they can be applied to any destination or any travel experience, at any budget level.


Responsible Travel addresses the three main elements as follows:


Environment: travel experiences that make a minimal impact on the environment and/or contribute to the conservation of biodiversity, human and natural heritage.


Culture: travel that encourages authentic interaction with the local culture/people and respects their right to determine their future.


Economy: travel and tourism experiences that make a financial contribution to the local community with which they interact, either by using local guides, suppliers and locally-owned accommodation, or by financially supporting a project that benefits the local people and environment.


Responsible Travel will provide your family with fascinating insights into local cultures and environments, as well as giving your children some fantastic stories to tell their friends when they get home. They will truly experience the destinations they visit.


Responsible Travel encompasses the full spectrum of tourism, from grass roots adventures, through the many volunteering opportunities available, to unadulterated luxury.  There are literally thousands of examples – not all are ‘perfect’ (in fact, most are not) but range across:

  • Volunteering on conservation research projects or cultural initiatives
  • Indigenous-owned and run tours and accommodation where the operation is owned and operated by the local people
  • Low impact modes of travel such as bicycling, walking and sea kayaking
  • Cultural tours such as indigenous arts; and longhouse experiences in Borneo
  • Accommodation and tour providers that have RT policies that cover employment of local people, use of local materials and suppliers and/or make financial contributions to the local community or conservation of wildlife etc.
  • Small group tours that emphasise cultural involvement and minimal environmental impact.


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