Tourism should not just be tourism, but sustainable tourism

08 August 2018

Sustainable tourism is visiting a place as a tourist and trying to make a positive impact on the environment, society, and economy. It plays a key role in conserving the bio – diversity that in turn boosts the economic status of a country.

Wildlife interactions in tourism

Although there is an increasing awareness on animal welfare issues, many tourists are unsuspecting of how their daily operations and decisions impact animals in tourist destinations. Wild animals in some tourist destination are beat up and put in small barren cages to break their wild spirit so that you can enjoy touching or taking a photo with them.

In Africa, lion cabs are taken away from their mothers at just a few weeks old to endure painful training so that you can walk with them.

Ethical issues in tourism

Some of the other ethical issues that exist in tourism include;

·       Cuddling of wild animals.

·       Pollution that includes noise and water pollution.

·       Land encroachment by humans.

·       Deforestation – forests are a main habitat for wild animals.

·       Poaching.

·       Trophy hunting.

·       Off road driving.

·       Canned hunting.

·       Artificial feeding patterns.

Promoting responsible tourism

It is your obligation as a tourist to promote responsible tourism. Responsible tourism requires that operators, hoteliers, governments, local people and you take action in making tourism more sustainable. Some of the practices that define responsible tourism include.

·       Using responsible tour operators,

·       Doing research before visiting zoos.

·       Not using culture as an excuse for cruelty, avoid temptations to take selfies.

·       Avoid visiting zoos.

·       Don’t support the use of animals as photographic drops.

Observe your tour operator

Are you booking for a trip soon? As you seek to enjoy yourself, make sure your tour operator is doing the following;

  • Consumer education.
  • Driver guide education.
  • Establishment of a code of ethics.
  • Use of certified driver guides.
  • Advocates for a standard safari code.
  • Ensuring that driver guides adhere to rules.

World Animal Protection’s position

We are advocating for good animal welfare around four campaign areas; Animals in the Wild, Animals in Farming, Animals in Disasters and Animals in Communities. On Animals in the Wild, we have an ongoing initiative  dubbed ’Not entertainers’ which encourages responsible wildlife selfies. We believe that wildife entertainment is cruel. It deprives the animals a right to enjoy their natural life.

While not all wildlife tourism is harmful, there are examples all over the world of animals being used for profit in ways that inflict suffering to them.

 "One of the biggest culprits is the growing popularity of wildlife selfies where tourists, with the help of tour operators, capture and share images of themselves with wild animals — exploiting them as photo props,"Edith Kabesiime – Campaign Manager, Wildlife.

Irresponsible wildlife selfies are a threat to you and the animals. We know you love animals and you only want to have an authentic experience with a them. Learn more about our ‘Wildlife Selfies’ campaign and know how you can become a responsible tourist.

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