Responsible Travel and Ethical Tourism: Trends and Issues

The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in 1972 initiated the sustainable development in tourism. In the sixth United Nations meeting in 2022, the importance of responsibility in sustainable tourism development has been highlighted. The Tragedy of the Commons revealed the over-use of shared or common resources and each exploiter of common resources was guided by self-interest. The Cape Town Declaration brought together the destination approach to responsible tourism developed in South Africa with AITO’s source market approach. Responsible Tourism is critical as it minimises negative economic, environmental, and social impacts; generates great economic benefits for local communities and enhances their wellbeing; involves local people in decision making about tourism in their communities; contributes to the conservation of cultural and natural heritage; is inclusive; provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through meaningful experiences and is culturally sensitive, engenders respect between tourists and hosts, builds local pride and confidence. Business has incorporated Corporate Social Responsibility but there will be increasing pressure for businesses and destination governments to take responsibility, reduce emissions and adapt the way they construct and sell tourism. For future development, the roles of government and intergovernmental action are critical to oversee how far responsible businesses can go before their very existence as profitable.

Keywords: responsible tourism; Tragedy of the Commons; responsibility; sustainable development; destinations; governments

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