In an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, we have seen a steady rise in international tourism. According to the World Tourism Organization we have hit over 1 billion international travelers and are on track to reach 2 billion by 2030. Such a magnitude of travelers can pose a tremendous threat to ecosystems, local cultures and people. More than ever, we are aware of tourism’s dual nature. It can be a force of good, bringing much needed income to sustain local livelihoods, create pride in one’s culture and can be a means for environmental conservation. On the flip side, too often tourism dollars leak out of regions, the environment is degraded and polluted and culture is staged and standardized. Travelers now more than ever can help decide the fate of tourism as a positive force. The answer, as with many issues we face, has to lie in raising awareness and educating travelers to make conscious choices while traveling. So with that in mind, let’s look at some tourism issues with the help of one of the best travel singers in the world, Jimmy Buffett.
- Travel and time away is essential for well-being: ”Is it anger or depression, fever or aggression what’s the remedy.. We’re not talking rocket science the answer to your question’s very plain to see You need a holiday, take a holiday find a far off wonderland where you might regain command of your life today” From studies we know that it takes two weeks of time off for your body to regain its state of homeostasis. We also know workers are more productive and happy after vacation. Yet, many people choose not to take their allotted vacation days. Travel is a way to hit the reset button to find yourself again. The outer journey leads to an equally important inner journey. So if you feel down, disconnected or lost, try a trip!
- Traveling can help you live a full life and make you a better world citizen- but you have to be willing to get uncomfortable: “Reading departure signs in some big airport reminds me of the places I have been visions of good times that brought so much pleasure makes me want to go back again”…. Ah yes the joy of travel can be addicting. More free time and discretionary spending, along with a lifestyle dominated by social media has spurred travel interests that were not possible generations before. We travel in search of new places, understandings of self and the world, to live fully. Increasingly, travelers want an experience, a story to tell :” All the stories we could tell, If it all blows up and goes to hell I wish that we could sit upon the bed in some hotel and listen to the stories we could tell.” Being open to the potentiality of new situations that make these stories requires a sense of being able to flow with it. Not preplanning every step of your trip and a willingness to endure the downsides of travel such as downtime or long transfers and being uncomfortable or out of your comfort zone. There is a certain element of risk in trying new foods, activities and meeting new people, but as with everything in life, the more uncomfortable it was to get there the more we gain in the end.
- Travel is the beast teacher for life: “Changes in latitudes changes in attitudes, nothing remains quite the same” The skills required to deal well with the challenges of travel are the same skills that help you navigate life more successfully. Travel teaches you to be able to adapt to new people, circumstances and ideas. By learning to be content with constant change and being able to flow with whatever comes up, you learn to not take yourself and life too seriously. And you remember that fun and play is important!
- Make it a point to be in nature:” I know I don’t get there often enough but God know I surely try, it’s a magic kind of medicine no doctor could prescribe.” Visiting protected areas or nature in general helps you to understand the place you are visiting, helps center you and on a more altruistic level makes it economically viable to protect nature, which is good for planet and people. Due to pressures of development, most natural places tourists can visit now are under some protected status. By showing that travelers are willing to pay an entrance fee to secure these places, locals see that their biospheres have worth. It allows them to make a living through tourism by protecting the resource. From many studies now we know that economically speaking, more money can be made from tourism by leaving fish as an attraction for snorkel or scuba rather than being fished and consumed one time. Similarly, lions are worth far more in the wild than as a one-time trophy hunted.
- Engage with locals and fellow travelers from all around the world: “The Masai not the wise men Are circling my tent. I teach them how to play guitar they show me how to dance. We have rum from the Caribbean and burgundy from France.” Travel has long been seen as a way to increase intercultural understanding which ultimately leads to more peace. However, that cannot happen by gazing at a new culture from the safety of a hotel balcony. By sharing a meal and spending time with your hosts and fellow travelers you gain new insights and understandings which makes your trip more memorable. Also, much has been studied about the impact of community and friendship on happiness. So when you travel connect! Look for operators that give you these experiences.
- Make your tourism dollars count: “Now the Yankees they come with their dollars it’s a beehive of activity sell them crawfish and rum keep them dizzy and numb …. We got new holidays for celebration we got new laws but no one complies…. But we’r short on our water supply” Tourism development all too often depletes local resources and not enough money stays with local people and communities Try to research your accommodations, tour operators and restaurants. By spending money in locally owned establishments you are contributing to the livelihoods of the local population. Vendors that are trying to be more sustainable and have gone through certification have management actions and regulations in place that preserve resources and aim to benefit nearby communities. Eating a local diet not only makes your experience more of a story to tell, but also helps the local economy, since less has to be imported to meet your needs as a traveler.
- And lastly…Keep traveling to new places “Oh yesterday’s over my shoulder, so I can’t look back for too long, there’s just too much to see waiting in front of me and I know that I just can’t go wrong” Let your travels be a way to keep learning new dishes, customs, culture, history, geography. Keep going to new destinations. To your full life of travels and experiences!
This article was written by Carolin Lusby
This post was written by Editor
This entry was posted on Thursday, March 31st, 2016 at 6:15 am