How to spend your holiday money responsibly was high on the agenda at a World Travel conference in London recently. Responsible Tourism was the buzzword coming from many of the stands. And it was evident that holiday companies realise it is now a priority for some of their customers.
We all want to find unique locations where we can escape the trappings of tourism. Luckily for me, I found a few secret hideaways when I recently visited Croatia. However, it was very evident by the mass of development around me that this will soon change. Many other untouched environments on the brink of popularisation are within emerging economies. Thankfully addressing the need for responsible tourism within these areas before growth escalates out of control is becoming a high priority for some in the industry.
The travel awards at the WTM reflected the need to avoid the mistakes of our past when developing destinations for tourism. Amongst the categories were: Best for Wildlife; Employment Conditions; Communication; Managing Success and most importantly for the consumer, Best for Local Economic Benefit.
This years winner was OneSeed Expeditions. By developing a local supply chain and incentivising their partners, OneSeed is able to offer customer’s genuine ethical adventure holidays. Clients can be sure their holiday money is making a responsible difference when exploring Nepal, Bhutan, Tanzania, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Argentina. The company prides itself on reinvesting over three-quarters of every dollar back into the local economy at each destination. Ten per cent of which is invested in encouraging entrepreneurial economic expansion. An ethos which has been the cornerstone of OneSeed’s business since 2011.
Although OneSeed won the gold prize for responsible tourism in their Economic category, other nominees such as Transfrontier Parks, Coconut Lagoon and Madi a Thavha Mountian Lodge were recognised for boosting their local economy too. Awards also went to companies raising awareness and encouraging tourists to make informed choices, developing strategies to manage tourism better and paying over the average wages to their staff. Closer to home, Tui won the Travel Communication award for highlighting responsible tourism through their digital and print marketing.
A commitment to protect biodiversity in some of the world’s most delicate habitats is becoming universally recognised. But with more and more travellers itching to visit these destinations it is becoming essential that consumers use their holiday money to demand business responsibility when it comes to providing access, accommodation and services.