When you’re on the road, it’s easy to get completely caught up in your own experiences – your adventures, your struggles, where you’re going, and how the experience is affecting you. But as a visitor in someone else’s country, what about how you, as a traveler, affect the people who live there?
The tourism industry can be tremendously beneficial to local communities, by providing new job opportunities, accumulating tax revenue, and facilitating cross-cultural exchange. But when it goes unchecked – leading to overcrowding, environmental damage, and disrespect of local people – things get murky. Fortunately, the movement for responsible travel is growing, and it’s pushing both travelers and those working in tourism to make choices that have better social, economic, and environmental outcomes. But we have a long way to go before tourism will be wholly beneficial.