The Ethics of Travel

Several years ago Dive Training Magazine (July 1999) published Ten Guidelines for Travelers. The author is unknown. After I read them I passed them on to my traveling friends for perusal. I think they are great and read them from time to time to make sure that I am on track with the reasons for visiting other places.

1. Do not expect to find things to be like at home. You left home to find things different.

2. Do not take anything too seriously. A carefree mind is vital to a good vacation.

3. Do not let other travelers get on your nerves. You paid good money to enjoy yourself.

4. Do not forget: you are a representative of your country at all times.

5. Try not to worry, because he or she who worries will have no fun. Remember that few things in life are fatal.

6. Know where your passport is at all times because a traveler without a passport is traveler without a country.

7. As a stranger in a strange land, be prepared to do as its people do.

8. Do not judge all people of a country by the one person who has given you trouble.

9. Learn how to say thank you in the language of the country you’re visiting. A sincere thank you, along with a smile, doubles the value of any tip you may give.

10. Remember that you are a guest and those travelers who treat their host with respect will be treated likewise.

In 2001 the United Nations adopted a resolution drafted by the World Tourist Organization entitled ‘The Global Code of Ethics for Tourism’.  It outlines 10 points that, if implemented, will aid tourism while minimizing negative impacts.

Article 1; Tourism’s contribution to mutual understanding and respect between peoples and societies, explains that both tourist and host should respect each other and their cultural biases.

Article 2; Tourism as a vehicle for individual and collective fulfillment, encourages people to use tourism to enrich their lives and not exploit others while fulfilling that pursuit.

Article 3; Tourism, a factor of sustainable development, implores those involved to take steps to ensure that any tourism has as small an impact as possible. Not only on the environment but also on the culture of the area.

Article 4; Tourism, a user of the cultural heritage of mankind and a contributor to its enhancement, speaks to the idea that history and cultural ikons should be available to all, that the host area take responsibility to maintain the ikons and that part of the proceeds obtained from the tourism industry be available to help with maintaining said ikons.

Article 5; Tourism, a beneficial activity for host countries and communities, indicates that the local population should be involved in and benefit from the tourism activities that take place in their locale.

Article 6; Obligations of stakeholders in tourism development, outlines the obligations of those that participate in tourism activities.

Article 7; Right to tourism, promotes the idea of universally accessible tourism.

Article 8; Liberty of tourist movements, encourages the powers that be to make it as easy as possible for tourists to move within any given country as well as from country to country.

Article 9; Rights of the workers and entrepreneurs in the tourism industry, implores that all those that are employed within the tourist industry be respected and treated with respect.

Article 10; Implementation of the principles of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, puts forth the proposition that both host and tourist buy into the Code and do their best to comply with its intentions.

If you are interested, the following link is a brochure that has the exact wording of the resolution and the articles that comprise “The Global Code of Ethics for Tourism.”

There are as many reasons for travel as there are travelers. It is up to each of us to get out of our excursions what we are searching for, but we cannot do so at a cost to others. We share the world and we should do so respecting all aspects of the environment and our neighbors.

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