Responsible travel is about choosing to respect and benefit the local people, their cultures, economies and the environment. It is up to all of us to be conscientious globetrotting individuals. When we travel we take our holiday in somebody else’s home. Our holidays can impact their environments, cultures, economies and ways of life.
Treating local people and places with respect is the right thing to do, and opens up possibilities for more authentic travel. At Tulambule, we are passionate about Responsible Tourism and actively practice it by working with social enterprises whose goals are to helping people who don’t have the same opportunities as us.
Tulambule’s top responsible travel tips
- As you prepare to leave your home for a holiday learn as much as you can about the countries you are visiting, including the language, religion and culture, as well as the local rules and values.
- Support locally owned businesses like restaurants, lodges, hotels, and other services. Eat local food and drink local brands. Use public transport, hire a bike or walk whenever possible; you’ll meet local people and get to know the area.
- It is also better not to eat in restaurants or visit local shows, markets and zoos that promote cruelty or exploitation of endangered species.
- Buy souvenirs or crafts from traditional artisans and for locally made products. This will help to keep traditional crafts alive. Also, favour local products over imported items. If it is local practice, bargain but always remember that a small amount to you could be extremely important to the seller.
- Dress respectfully and in accordance to the local norms. Dress modestly at religious centers and check what swim wear is appropriate for swimming pools and the beach.
- You advised to ask first before videoing or photographing people. You can also send them back copies of photos to help make it a two-way exchange.
- Avoid giving money or gifts to beggars (children and people) you have just met. Supporting the community through a local hospital, water project, school, clinic or other development projects may be more constructive.
- Only leave your footprints. Take care of the environment in the same as you would your own home. Take out all you take in, to protected and conservation area. Say ‘No’ to plastic bags and use alternatives to plastic.
- In Uganda, you will hear the word ‘mzungu’ a lot, particularly from local children. It is used to describe white foreigners (a bit like “gringo”), and is not derogatory. Just smile and wave!
- Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda is strictly regulated, with good reason. All of the rules will be elaborated before you head out – but please don’t trek if you have any sign of illness.
- After returning home think how you can support programs and community-based tourism organizations that are working to protect the welfare, culture and environment of where you’ve been lucky to visit.