Every time we travel, for whatever reason, we are all a part of a global movement; a movement that has the power to drive inclusive development, create jobs and build the sustainable societies we want for our future; a movement that builds mutual understanding and can help us safeguard our shared natural and cultural heritage.
As world citizens, we need to raise awareness of the important impact tourism has on countries and communities around the world and its potential as a force for good, creating a better world for all. Because, together we can really make a difference.
It brings people together from all over the globe
Tourism has the power to bring us all together, from all walks of life, without discrimination and regardless of race, colour, sex or age. It allows us to explore the world in compelling ways so that we can better understand each other, destinations, its history and culture. Together, we can make a difference. We can learn from one another, respect cultures, and open the gateway to having different conversations so that our world can become a more understanding place.
Promote responsible travel
It is our duty to look after the world we’re in. Tourism has paved a way in promoting the importance of responsible travel. From ocean conservation to wildlife protection and local community support, sustainable tourism is important in maintaining the Earth’s natural habitat and attractions. Responsible travel is about respecting the destinations we visit, so that we can leave this Earth better than we found it.
Related: How we can all travel responsibly
Help us become better global citizens
The tourism industry has seen a revolution in the past 50 years. In 1950 there were only 25 million international tourists; today there are 1.2 billion travelling the world. It’s become a huge part of our lives and helped people become better global citizens. There are incredible activists out there from Céline Cousteau, for humanitarian and environmental issues, to Leonardo Dicaprio, who is dedicated to raising awareness on climate change.
This remains as one of the world’s largest global issues. However, according to the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization, tourism makes up 5% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product; it accounts for one in 12 jobs worldwide; and it’s either the number one or number two export earnings for 20 of the 48 least developed countries, including Tanzania and Samoa. More than ever, it’s important to rethink what it means to be a traveller in this world. We must work together to address global inequality and support local communities.
From youth, women, indigenous communities, people with disabilities – tourism is about total empowerment. Did you know that the Tourism workforce is mostly made up of women? With that in mind, gender equality issues have been brought to the forefront to address discrimination against women. One way we can empower communities is through our continued support of local artisan groups. For example, by purchasing a Peruvian piece of art or textile, you’re actually connecting and contributing to a person’s income which in turn helps their families and children.
If you think tourism hasn’t played a tremendous role in creating a better future, you’re wrong! From virtual reality, wi-fi on coaches and new social media platforms – no doubt – innovation in the travel sector has played a significant role in how we interact with one another, operate and see the world. Thanks to innovative product developments, we have seen new mobile apps such as Uber, truly changing the game in the shared economy industry.
Watch more: 360 video of Machu Picchu, Peru
Protect natural habitats and wildlife
Tourism has been the voice of animal protection and helped in defending vulnerable species. Over the many years, we have collectively supported to stop the poaching of rhino’s, whaling, sharks, elephant mistreatment and sea turtle conservations. Many destinations around the world are defined by their native animals so it’s fair to protect them from further endangerment.
Encourage sustainable tourism
With increased tourism, there are further repercussions on the environment. Sustaining the natural and cultural beauty of our world and conserving the Earth’s natural resources has played a huge role in environment initiatives globally. One example is plastic pollution and the direct effect it has on our oceans. The Surfrider foundation collab with Contiki was launched to raise awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution and prevent marine plastic from entering our oceans. This conservation program assists in changing consumer behaviour by inspiring change.
WATCH BELOW: Wise up to plastic documentary – Contiki Cares & Treadright