Becoming a conscious traveller

After watching a documentary, two points become relevant for establishing sustainable tourism which benefits both the visitors and the hosts. In the first place, protecting local culture is considered a multidisciplinary issue, hence must not be out of any touristic planning. Furthermore, the preservation of the environment is equally as important as the cultural heritage.

To advocate the importance of cultural protection we must analyze its roots. Why is a place relevant for tourists? Often, visitors look for either curious, pleasurable, or trendy places. Whatever the reason, if a place offers safety, considerable infra-structure (e.g. transport facilities), and good life to their inhabitants, it means, there is a potential place to be visited. Despite that, the local culture, which includes culinary traditions, music, dance and other folkloric manifestations, is a crucial point when assessing possible tourist numbers.

In respect to the environment, usually traditional societies have been looking after it for generations. Therefore, any modification of it such as wrong waste disposal, abuse of water supplies, or even simply listening to loud music, might bring arguments between locals and visitors.

In conclusion, although these two factors are closely connected, what is the most relevant is the culture. It is because environmental preservation is, normally, closely related to local culture (as said above). Moreover, to maintain this high level, visitors must respect the local habits, mostly when they are visiting very traditional cultures. It is pointless whether any holiday package has been bought, it does not allow anyone to consider travel as a simple product. Respect is the first word to be on the mind of a conscious traveller.

Essay written for the Cambridge Advanced English course, The English Academy, Dublin, 2015.