Responsible Tourism entails awareness of environmental issues as well as awareness of several qualities of life. Tourism has a considerable impact on ecological change on a global scale. However, the increasing awareness of environmental issues has served to minimize the effects greatly, with the travelers in quest of making tourism responsible and sustainable.
Responsible Tourism minimizes the negative impacts that tourism has on social, economic, and environmental aspects of the world. It has a direct correlation with the sustainability and preservation of travel destinations. It helps to make the places unspoiled and unpolluted while keeping the socio-cultural significance intact.
Impacts of Tourism
In the context of Nepal, it is one subject that has been mostly neglected until recent times. Tourism contributes about 2% of Nepal’s GDP while providing 15% of total foreign exchange earnings. On top of that, it also employs about a quarter-million people. Needless to say, tourism is one of the essential businesses in Nepal. However, despite providing a means of livelihood for a lot of people, it has affected the environment and socio-cultural identities adversely. For instance, the highest peak of the world, Everest, has conceded a tremendous amount of garbage left by trekkers and climbers. A recent garbage retrieval expedition brought down 11 tons of waste from Mt. Everest. The collector also claimed that it would take another 3-4 years of constant cleanup to transport all the garbage from Everest.
Not just environmentally, tourism has affected the socio-cultural aspects of several places. Many regions of Nepal which once were showcases of traditions and culture have become hotel sites for tourists. In a rush to please travelers, the local people embraced foreign culture while neglecting their own. They have not given attention to responsible tourism.
The Bright Side
However, things are not all bad as we have been making efforts to minimize the negative impacts of tourism. The positive aspects of tourism far outweigh its negative aspects, and those too, we can mitigate by spreading awareness. The agencies in Nepal have been pleading with tourists not to leave anything behind and to take away only photographs and memories. Moreover, the Government of Nepal has also been aiding in this endeavor. Several rules and regulations have been implemented in tourist destinations concerning waste management and nature protection.
North Nepal also actively supports responsible tourism. We value our customers as much as we value our traditions and environment. We have our work ethics and guidelines that we live by so that we do not harm the beauty and Socio-cultural identity of the sites we visit. Below are some of the rules that we, along with our customers, follow:
- Respecting the local citizens and their culture by using locally owned hotels and homestays.
- Maintaining cleanliness by disposing of waste materials in proper places.
- Employing guides and porters that are local to the region of travel.
- Making campsites at fixed locations to reduce environmental pollution.
- Picking up and carrying some amount of garbage while on the way back.
- Spending money wisely as the amount will be spent on the development of surroundings, environmental conservation, and women empowerment, among other activities.