Responsible Travel

If you clicked this page to find out what the heck responsible travel is, we are so glad you are here! It’s a common question and you are not alone.

Responsible Travel is about doing good, just by travelling!

What is Responsible Travel?

As defined by the Cape Town Declaration in 2002, Responsible Tourism is about making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit.

This means making responsible choices about:

  • How and where you spend your travel money
  • How you interact with and treat people in the communities you visit
  • How you interact with and impact the environment when you travel

It’s hard to do all of these things on your own though, and the information can be overwhelming. Just remember, as a responsible Canadian traveller, you are going to do good and make a difference in the world, just by travelling. And we’re going to help you!

Photo Credit: Shari Tucker


The impact of tourism

Tourism has environmental, social and economic impacts, every time you travel. The more people who consciously decide where and how to spend their tourist dollars, the bigger the collective positive impact on the world will be.

Social Impact

People are excited to share their history and way of life with Canadian travellers. As a responsible traveller it is about supporting local when you are in destination. When your money stays in these communities, it empowers them to find solutions to problems, create jobs and educate their children. Educated communities lead to less poverty.

How can you make a positive social impact?

  • Take a locally led tour with an accredited guide
  • Rent bicycles from a local shop
  • Take a cooking or art class in the community
  • Make an effort to go on a rural tour to a community-based organization
  • Be respectful of customs and cultures. Try to learn about their beliefs.

When you learn about local life, customs and history, you allow locals to share their views and way of life with you. Children see that history and customs are of interest to others, and therefore take an interest in learning it themselves. Supporting accredited guides and tourism businesses shows youth that tourism is a viable and valuable part of society, encouraging them to continue their education. Taking an interest in historic sites that are less touristed can help raise funds and awareness to restore and protect those sites for the future.

Photo Credit: Shari Tucker

Environmental Impact

There’s no question, travel impacts the environment. However, contrary to popular belief, only about 2.5% of total global emissions come from flights. If everyone stops travelling, the economic, social and environmental concerns tip the scale in an equally dangerous way.

It is also important to keep the use of natural resources in check and be mindful of wild habitats and their inhabitants. Every single living being on earth has a purpose in the circle of life. If the balance is disrupted, the circle cannot thrive.

How can you make a positive environmental impact?

  • Fly economy class. Pack light. Take the most direct route.
  • Donate to offset carbon emissions from your trip.
  • Take shorter showers and turn off your lights and air conditioning.
  • Tread lightly. Leave no trace. Stay on marked trails.
  • Keep wild animals, wild. Don’t support tours where animals are forced to perform.
  • Choose hotels and lodges with a light carbon footprint
  • Use environmentally friendly products to keep chemicals from entering the water system or damaging the environment

When you are conscious of the impact you are having on the environment, you can make responsible choices on what activities to take part in and what accommodations to support. You can offset carbon emissions and have a lower carbon footprint from the start.

Photo Credit: Shari Tucker

Economic Impact

Tourism is one of the world’s greatest forms of wealth distribution. If you have the financial means and time to travel, you are privileged. What you choose to do with that privilege is up to you. We encourage you to be a better traveller, to help those who are not so fortunate.

You’ve already made the decision to spend your money on an amazing vacation. Spend that money wisely and you can have a lasting economic impact.

How can you make a positive economic impact?

  • Book with reputable travel companies who support not for profit organizations and social enterprises.
  • Buy local souvenirs direct from artisans; more money goes directly to the artist and into their community.
  • Tip guides well, when appropriate. Money goes directly into their pockets, back to their families and into their communities.
  • Try local foods at family-owned restaurants, purchased by local farmers
  • Stay at locally owned hotels with staff from the community

When you spend your tourist dollars in a local community, you are helping moms and dads earn a fair living so they can send their children to school instead of into the streets. You are empowering women and differently-abled people to live extraordinary lives. You are helping spread the wealth that tourism brings to places it doesn’t reach as easily.

Photo Credit: Shari Tucker



Favourite Community Projects

We’ve seen the positive and negative impacts tourism can have on the world, first-hand. It’s powerful. We want you to feel that power too; the power to make a difference in someone else’s life.

By visiting community projects, you’ll interact with locals, learn about their culture and support the community, just by travelling. See for yourself how you can make a difference.

We’ve personally been to these projects (and many more). We would love to share our life-changing experiences and help you connect with the people you are helping.

Indigenous woman weaving with various wools

Women’s Weaving Co-op

Ccaccaccollo, Peru

The indigenous community of Ccaccaccollo, in the Sacred Valley, Peru was challenged with little income and losing their ancestral heritage. They started a women’s weaving co-op to pass their ancient weaving techniques to the younger generation, as well as creating products to sell to tourists who visit the community on tours of the Sacred Valley.

Eight Nepalese women pose for picture in an outdoor courtyard

Seven Women Nepal

Kathmandu, Nepal

Seven Women Nepal offers skills training such as sewing, literacy programs and income generation opportunities to marginalized women in Nepal. These skills help the women to become independent and self-sufficient. They offer a variety of cooking and arts classes, as well as a store where you can buy handmade items the women have made.

Women gather around a table preparing food

Beit Khayrat Souf

Souf, Jordan

This café in Souf was started as a means of combating women’s unemployment and fostering women leaders. It is women-owned and managed, offering traditional Jordanian cooking classes, local cuisine and a small handicraft shop with local souvenirs, preserves and jewellery.


Become a Responsible Traveller Today

Book an appointment to learn how we can help you be a better traveller on your next adventure. Or, Learn how working with us can help you have a bigger positive impact on your next adventure.