Conversations on Responsible Tourism
What is #responsibletourism? Can it be more than a hashtag? There could be many ways to answer the question, but you need to start somewhere. And if you’re looking at collective participation, you need to think of collective responsibility as well – effort that brings in all stakeholders in the industry together.
To start with, it can be more than just a hashtag. Tourism departments can play the lead role of game changers and core influencers – these are government bodies that can support, enable, facilitate and encourage a whole new way of doing things.
When the tourism department drives initiatives in responsible tourism the effort can have a cascading effect - because the momentum can pick up at decision-making levels in the industry. Any concerns addressed at this level will only trickle down in positive and constructive ways - right down to communities around tourist locations, travel professionals, hotels and resorts.
Where do we go from here?
While that’s the big picture, we can talk briefly about the vacation rental space in India and there is good work being done out here. Individual resorts within the AIRDA member community do make small but meaningful contributions at an important intersection of the value chain – at the meeting point with the customer.
So let’s see what some of the key focus areas are, at these resorts.
Being responsible means thinking local
Some of India’s frontline timeshare resorts don’t limit the guest experience to facilities at the resort – where they could spend a lot of time. Resort managers also enable interactions with local communities in a supportive and participative way.
The message here is also to think local, buy local and do local. And this can include visiting tea and coffee plantations, trying out local cuisines, and buying local handicrafts. All this supports small local economies and makes their world go round.
Being responsible means understanding local
Here again, activity managers in timeshare resorts do spend time explaining local heritage, the cultural landscape and other background information. During popular local festivals in the region, activity managers do organize group tours for guests, to experience festive highlights and local cuisines.
Being responsible means protecting local
Timeshare resorts in India have also taken the lead in making their environments eco-friendly and reducing their dependence on non-recyclable plastic. And right from the cutlery at the table to water bottles, there is a visible move to replace plastic with material that is reusable or biodegradable.
In addition to useful tips on local culture, resorts these days are helping tourists and guests realize the importance of ‘cleaning up before you leave’ – within the premises, during walks, treks and other outdoor activities.
What we really need at the moment is a road map of our destination, how we can get there, and who will join us in this journey. And here’s why: “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” - Robert Swan, OBE
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What does an AIRDA membership mean to resort owners and developers? AIRDA comes in as your industry partner, conscience keeper and business catalyst - with a wide portfolio of support services.
What does AIRDA mean to holiday seekers and prospective customers? AIRDA comes in to provide information and offer guidelines on making the right timeshare decisions.