Update on Responsible Tourism

21 Mar

A travel article I wrote on Mandina Lodge in The Gambia has finally seen the light of day in the Toronto Star’s Travel Section. Now that it has I am wondering what effect the current economic picture will have on this worthy way of doing things. Providing people with holidays that not only educate them but also give something substantial back to the people who cook their meals and make their beds doesn’t come cheap. Yet the beauty of the Mandina property at Makasutu stands in such marked contrast to the cement and brick that destroy local environments in tropical countries all over the world. In some resorts in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, for example, mangroves are cleared, forest razed, reefs damaged, and the paltry salaries paid to workers is almost the only input sourced locally, as furniture, dinnerware and even the food is flown in from other countries to appeal to tourist tastes. Maybe we can go beyond talking about responsible tourism and start referring to the other kind as ‘irresponsible tourism.’

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