Today more and more travel goes beyond just seeing the sites. One can’t help being affected by what they see on their travels, whether it be terrific or tragic. Eg witnessing poverty in India in contrast to the grandeur of the Taj Mahal; hints of the sex trade in Thailand and serene sparkling gold Buddha statues; awe-inspiring primates (orangutans, gorillas) and their endangered species status. Such experiences may lead to socially conscious tourism. So what does that look like?
- engaging in voluntourism
- supporting initiatives that help bring self-sufficiency to poor communities eg women’s cooperatives that produce handicrafts for sale
- taking eco and environmentally friendly tours
- seeking out organizations and making contributions to them
While tourism dollars are better than black market ones, they still do not form the basis of a perfect system. The awareness gained of such social issues, though, can be a catalyst for much needed change.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~Gandhi~