Through travel, everyone can gain a greater understanding, appreciation, and respect for other countries and the wonderfully diverse cultures and ecosystems found around the globe. Respect should not be an entirely one-way occurrence. When we travel, we are ambassadors for our own country. I strive to be aware of the impact I may have, and by respecting others, their traditions and beliefs, I hope to gain their respect in return.
However, few with a love of journeying far and wide can claim to always travel in the most sustainable manner at all times. Flying, for example, is well-known not to be the most eco-friendly mode of transport but it is very often the most convenient, the cheapest and sometimes the only viable option available. Responsible Tourism can be a powerful tool used to promote the appreciation and conservation of both cultures and ecosystems, and I believe flying is a necessary evil to further this aim. That being said, I wholeheartedly support airlines and airports striving to reduce their carbon footprint. I am also actively seeking to spend more time travelling closer to home, where no flight is necessary. There’s a lot on my doorstep that I have yet to discover.
Responsible Tourism and Sustainability Policy
When I started Travel With Kat, I did not set out to write a responsible travel blog but from time to time I write about subjects that fall under this umbrella and, with the above in mind, have adopted the following Responsible Tourism and Sustainability Policy.
- Respect and promote the respect of local indigenous people, their customs, traditions and beliefs.
- Contribute to the local economy by supporting local businesses.
- Learn about local customs, cultures and cuisines.
- Respect the environment and promote environmental conservation.
- Promote animal welfare and the ethos that wild animals should remain wild (and not be habituated to humans).
- Never support or promote any organisation or activity that potentially damages the environment or negatively impacts on human or animal rights.
- Actively promote human and animal rights, including (but not limited to) children’s rights to an education, clean water, access to health care and a life free from abuse.
- Reduce my carbon footprint where viable, both while travelling and at home.
Responsible Tourism Awards and Achievements
Back in 2008, long before I ever started travel writing, I won the AITO Responsible Tourism Award for my volunteer work supporting children’s health care and education. It was a great honour, especially because I am the only individual (rather than a company) to have been granted this award.
In August 2018, I spent a week with the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) learning about their work. I qualified as a responsible whale watching guide and became a WCA partner in September of that year.
Responsible Tourism and Sustainability Articles
Here are a few of my most relevant articles.
The Wildlife of Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia
Saving the marine turtles of West Africa | Interview with a poacher
How we planned our eco-friendly honeymoon
Don’t fuel the orphanage industry in Nepal
How to be a responsible, child-safe aware traveller
What you should know about swimming with dolphins
How to become a responsible whale watching guide