Why Responsible Tourism Matters?
Alan is a travel writer and author of over 20 Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guides to Southern Africa and Zambia & Malawi.
Responsible tourism, giving-back from your travels, eco this and eco that, all tend to be buzz words in the safari industry at the moment. Does any of it really matter?
I was reading through some information on the Game Ranger’s Association of Africa website recently and read a beautiful line as to why responsible practices and conservation really matter.
This is what I read: May the Roar of the African Lion be heard by the Children of our Children’s Children Forever”
Why is Responsible Tourism Important?
Amen to that. Everyone visiting Africa (especially guidebook writers like myself making repeat visits) has a responsibility to behave conscientiously while on safari. Does it really matter? Yes. It really does. Africa is a precious resource with its landscapes, habitats and wildlife under more and more man-made pressure every year. Pollution, over grazing, erosion, logging…the list goes on. We all have to do our bit.
It’s important because not being concerned with it makes us a party to its destruction or disappearance. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. And it would be robbing future generations of an irreplaceable resource. It is not a natural order of things to destroy our own environment through bad practice, carelessness or ignorance.
It is the reason why we must redouble our anti-poaching efforts, especially regarding rhino at the moment, as you will have read in my previous blogs. They are disappearing at the hands of the poachers. And it’s happening fast. Everyone can help – consider making a donation to savetherhino.org. Or perhaps contribute to an organisation that concerns itself with a local issue you became interested in on safari.
My advice is to educate yourself on the places you are visiting and see what you can do to help. At the very least you should always pick a responsible safari operator. Quiz them in detail about their practices and when you’re out there, make sure they are demonstrating high standards of care for the environment and the wildlife.
If someone visited you in your home, in your country and littered and showed disregard for the local environment how would you feel? Remember that if you really want to complete your journey, you should always give back.
Imagine if you could see the faces of your grandchildren, or their children when they hear the roar of an African lion…
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