IoI Publications

Friday 30 August 2002 Ethical Tourism: Who benefits?

The idea of 'responsible tourism' has grown in popularity over the past decade. But who benefits from this notion? Should the behaviour of travellers come under scrutiny? What are the consequences of this new etiquette for the travelling experience? Can we make a positive difference if we change the way we travel?

AUTHOR: Editor: Tiffany Jenkins

Dea Birkett: Guardian columnist and author of Amazonian
Jim Butcher: Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography and Tourism, Canterbury Christ Church University College
Paul Goldstein: International Sales Manager, Exodus Travel
Dr Harold Goodwin: Director of the Centre for Responsible Tourism University of Greenwich
Kirk Leech: Assistant Director of the youth charity Worldwrite
Tiffany Jenkins: Academy of Ideas

‘The tourist is being attack by more subtle methods than all out war. The word tourist is being removed from anything that was once called a holiday. So whilst there are fewer and fewer tourists, there are more and more adventures and fieldwork assistants, exploraholics, volunteers and travellers.’
‘Whilst this re-branding is supposed to present a progressive, modernistic approach to travel, in fact it is firmly rooted in the Victorian experience. Ironically these untourists go to the very same places from which many would have tourists banned. Indeed, this un-tourism relies up exclusivity; it is all about preventing other people travelling in order that you might legitimise your own travels. ‘
Dea Birkett
Guardian columnist and author of Amazonian

‘Ethical tourism is a barely concealed slight on the ‘unethical’ package holiday maker. It is an attack on the average tourist. The plethora of ethical advice diminishes the very things that make holidays - fun is frowned upon and a sense of adventure reigned in by the ethical advocates. And if this were not bad enough, the advice assumes that tourists and hosts cannot get on. It ends up reinforcing differences and creating misunderstanding.’
‘In the name of ethical tourism, leisure travel has never been subject to such moral proscription, that we would enjoy our holidays more and get to know each other better without it. ‘
Jim Butcher
Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography and Tourism, Canterbury Christ Church University College

‘Some of our favourite new destinations are also among the most impoverished on the globe. India, Nepal, Peru and Mexico are countries where millions survive on less than a pound a day, they rely heavily on tourism and it can bring many benefits. Sadly, too often it brings negative effects of the benefits simply bypass local people. ‘
‘Travel companies and airlines as well as governments, tourist boards and the press must surely learn that the only way to ensure long term profits is to co-operate with these host countries, listen to their concerns, consider not just the financial implications of new projects, but be sensitive to the local needs of those affected. If this is done ethically both parties can benefit.’
Paul Goldstein
International Sales Manager, Exodus Travel

‘We are a long way from recognising that we - travellers and tourists - are part of the problem. We are more likely to become part of the solution if we can consume holidays and travel in ways that minimise negative impacts and maximise positive ones.’
‘Responsible Tourism is a movement - consumers, business people and locals seeking to harness the experience and the industry to make a better form or forms of tourism. .The movement for responsible tourism is gathering pace - we can make tourism a better experience for hosts and guests.’
Dr Harold Goodwin
Director of the Centre for Responsible Tourism University of Greenwich

‘Advocates of eco-tourism see it as the means to overcome the conflicting demands and pressures of conservation and development. Whilst seemingly an advance on previous ideas which sought just to exclude local people from their land to safeguard bio-diversity, both concepts in reality tie local communities into a development vision limited by both a reliance on the natural environment and the limited development perspective of sustainability. This partial and degraded sense of development is of no long-term benefit to local communities. There is nothing essentially wrong in local communities benefiting from revenues accrued through foreign visitors, but to see this as the means by which local communities develop, whilst at the same time restricting any attempts they may have to transform their real social position, is nothing more than enforcing primitivism.’
Kirk Leech
Assistant Director of the youth charity Worldwrite

PUBLISHER: Hodder & Soughton
SERIES: Debating Matters
ISBN: 034085734X


what's happening next

Can we cancel ‘cancel culture’?

Tuesday 11 August, 7pm (UK time), online, via Zoom