We affirm the beauty, wonder, and richness of the world’s various cultures and the value of experiencing, learning from, and being challenged by them.
However, many aspects of tourism and travel today erode environments, harm human (and non-human) populations, perpetuate intercultural divisions, undermine local economies, and consumerize cultural heritage.
Therefore, we urge travelers to consider how they might leave a place better than it was before they arrived, especially by establishing meaningful relationships by which future resources, knowledge, and assistance can be shared.
I love to travel. I love to travel mainly so that I can meet people, try their food, listen to their music, and share in the things that they love. Although I don’t always succeed—and whilst acknowledging that there are many factors I’m probably unaware of—I do try to travel in a way that leaves a place better than it was before I arrived. The practice of gift-giving—although it has been largely abused—is helpful in the extent to which it emphasizes that experiencing another culture as a guest is a great privilege and gift in itself
I’ve used a couple different “Eco-Tourism” companies, which contributed more than %50 of my money to local communities—the people with whom I walked, ate, laughed and in whose homes I slept.
Whilst in Asia, a driver once articulated his distinction between “tourists” and “travelers” to me and my wife: “tourists only take, but travelers share”. I think this mindset can help us as we seek to be more loving and caring global citizens.