Food for thought ...
The word ethical is also a relative term.
To us, it seems, ethical way of travelling shall start from how you save your money to travel. And then it goes to how you travel, what you are doing while you travel and your intention of travelling. Does the traveller respect local culture, does the traveller despise local cuisines and local social etiquettes must also be in the consciousnesses of this ethical traveller. The UNWTO's code of conduct seems to fall shorter in our definition.
We observe, the developed countries are facing a unique set of issues relating to tourism industry. Venice is up against huge influx of daily cruise ships visiting the city. Barcelona too is concerned with overflowing mass tourist population. Financially troubled western holiday makers are gravely concern about their person safety too in conflict waging countries.
Developing countries are too facing quite a different set of issues. Our Island belongs to lower middle income countries. In here there are a lot of things that are not in right order. Like some says our Island is a paradise for holidaymakers it is also a paradise for those who looking for loopholes. A lot have to come together before our country draft a national policy towards gripping up the 21st century's sustainable tourism industry.
The digitalised-online-world have unleashed all the potential to holidaymaker to be abreast with information about the destination. But it have unleashed many adverse effects on countries like ours also.
Some of those unethical practices are as follow;
a). Holiday makers are only looking for higher ratings and reviews - For you it might be about transparency and they duly earned it. But have you ever thought that those chauffeur drivers are registered self-employees or/and, are they paying their due taxes to local Governments? Sri Lanka does not have an effective tax collecting system for self-employed. So, this is only an one place where so-seems transparent internet prevents developing countries developing.
b). Booking your hotels online - Yes, we know this is very convenient and hassle free way to find your room and reserve it. But do you know doe each and every single room you book the booking site takes about 10-15% commission out from our country, from any country in fact? Do you know Booking.com, Hotwire.com, Kayak.com and Travelocity are all fall within the empires of Priceline Group and Expedia International. So, this is another way where so-seems transparent internet prevents developing countries developing.
It is ironic that even US hoteliers are gearing up together against their own home-grown online booking giants. These search engines are US based companies. Then think, as everyone would like to do their bit for this planet, how much does it effecting the local economy of developing nations.
No matter what a country shall protect the local industries and it shall manage to save as much as revenue within local stakeholders to develop sustainably.
c). Not valuing the human contacts - The art of things are that humans are coming together to do them! At least it used to be like that in good old days.
There is a good old saying that travelling make you wise. We feel, however, today's traveller are just a bunch of isolated human beings whom are wondering around in foreign lands with a minimal contact with local cultures. For most part, the internet has allowed it. These kind of travellers are re-establishing their own ideas/idiosyncrasies about the destination they happened to be travelling.
So, what is the point of travelling in modern age? Even if we never intend to guide you through cheaters and opportunists they too - like honest and professionals merchants - have nucleus to make you better understand the culture!
We always take great pleasure in appropriate human contacts and cherish our good business partners!
With our Cleaner Sri Lanka initiative, still an infant community organisation platform, we try to bring relevant local and national authorities' attention to our local issues with your help. Minor things like cleanliness of public lavatories and disorderly garbage disposal systems at our visiting sites are the targets. Just taking a picture and upload it to our FB page to enable us to approach the relevant authorities with them.
If you are a real ethical traveller you could make our country a little bit more beautiful and prosperous destination!
Cross Country Travels Sri Lanka wish you a warmer holiday!
“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving” Lao Tzu
Having said that we want you to ask us to plan your tour! If you are still not convinced and you want to follow Lao Tzu, then ask us to plan your travel without a plan!...
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”
“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home”
“Not all those who wander are lost”
J. R. R. Tolkien