Inca Trail -
Responsible Tourism is all about helping to
share some of the benefits of tourism with local people without causing
negative effects on either the environment or their culture.
Local people can benefit from tourism by means
of receiving an increased income which, if managed correctly, can be used to
improve standards of education, improved diet and access to medical
treatment. However all too often tourism makes the richest members of the
community even richer i.e. hotel owners, property owners, travel agencies
and shops owners, while the poorest inhabitants remain downtrodden and
exploited and struggle to get their foot on the ladder to improving their
Responsible travellers can help people in many of the
poorest mountain communities of Peru by following some of the guidelines for
low-impact, culturally sensitive and environmentally friendly travel.
ABOUT THE COUNTRY YOU'RE VISITING
enjoying your travels before you leave by tapping into as many
sources of information as you can.
get the most out of a trip, seek out lots of information Ė not
just the obvious sources like guidebooks. Try reading some classic
and contemporary literature of the country. The internet is a fantastic resource.
to check out the behavior and dress codes that will be expected of
you. Visiting religious sites, markets or rural communities looking
as though you forgot to get dressed that morning is probably not a
good idea! Swimwear and revealing shorts and T-shirts are often only
appropriate on the beach.
of the major impacts holidays and travel have on a destination is
economic, you can be a vital source of income for many. If you want
to make sure you bring some economic benefit, find out whether there
are any community or locally run/owned businesses to use in the
places youíre visiting.
a few phrases in Spanish before you travel. Even better take a short
language course. A few basic words will go a long way to improve the
quality of your interaction with local people. You'll be surprised
how difficult it is to get by in Peru using English alone!
COST OF YOUR HOLIDAY
about where your money goes Ė be fair and realistic about how
cheaply you travel.
about where your money goes - itís very easy to forget the
consequences when youíre on a budget trying to save every penny.
Competing for the cheapest price and not wanting to get ripped off
is common, but some travelers misunderstand how far to go and are
overly suspicious or aggressive. By all means haggle (itís often
expected after all) but donít go over the top Ė smile and pay a fair
price. A small difference, of say US$1, could mean the person
youíre buying from can feed his or her family that day. It doesn't
really hurt to be fair and realistic, in fact it can be very
and put money into local businesses. For instance, drink local beer
or fruit juice rather than imported brands Ė theyíre probably
cheaper and just as good if not better. Thinking about where your
money goes also includes using local guides and locally-owned
accommodation. Tours and excursions run by locals will educate you
and benefit them. If possible, support community projects.
MINIMIZE YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
about what happens to your rubbish - take biodegradable products and
a water filter bottle. Be sensitive to limited resources like water,
fuel and electricity.
preserve local wildlife and habitats by respecting rules and
regulations, such as sticking to footpaths, not buying products made from endangered plants or animals.
rainforests, mountain trekking, going through remote desert
regions, Ė all these are things that travelersí dreams are made of. But if everyone who visited such
environments did it without working out how to limit their
environmental impact, damage would soon follow.
is extremely limited in Peru. Opt for drinks in glass bottles as
these tend to be re-used.
only biodegradable soaps and shampoos while camping but don't use
them directly in the water as they won't decompose.
are one of the most damaging products to leave behind.
treat people as part of the landscape, they may not want their picture taken.
Put yourself in their shoes, ask first and respect their wishes.
travellers want photos to remind them of their travels, but there are times
when photography can offend and intrude. So how do you get your photos of
your lifetime without offending the people you are visiting? Consider the
feelings of local people and, if itís inappropriate, donít take it.
may find that sometimes people will ask you for payment for the photograph
to be taken. This can have lots of implications, itís worth bearing them
in mind. You may think that paying for pictures is a way of putting money
into local hands, but it can encourage begging especially amongst children.
However, if it is obvious that the locals have dressed up in traditional
clothes only to have their photos taken, negotiate a price first before
taking a photo. In colourful markets such as Pisac in the Sacred Valley it
may be more appropriate to buy something from the store-holder such as fruit
or vegetables rather than paying for taking a photo.
the best way you can take photos is to offer to mail them a copy. Many
locals will be thrilled to receive a photo of themselves.
giving children sweets for photos; again it encourages begging as well as being
bad for their teeth.
photography can damage works of art Ė check if itís okay first or use a