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Introducing our new responsible travel partner, Tourism Concern

| Words by Rachel McCombie |

We’ve recently started working with ethical tourism organisation Tourism Concern. Today we look at who they are and the work they do to help communities and promote responsible tourism.

At Insider Journeys, we’ve always been committed to responsible, sustainable travel, and to that end we’re delighted to announce that we’ve recently started working with Tourism Concern, a UK-based non-government organisation dedicated to ethical tourism. Today we’d like to tell you a bit more about Tourism Concern and the valuable work the organisation does to help promote fairer tourism for both travellers and the local communities they visit.

Founded in 1988 and based in Croydon, South London, Tourism Concern is an independent organisation on a mission “to ensure tourism always benefits local people by challenging bad practice and promoting better tourism”. The idea is to prevent the exploitation by the tourism industry of people in destination countries, and to bring about greater social, economic and environmental responsibility within the travel industry.

Tourism Concern makes a difference either by working directly with industries, governments and other organisations, by providing a voice for communities that would otherwise struggle to make themselves heard (particularly in the UK media), or by empowering communities to help them benefit directly from tourism.

Tourism Concern makes a difference either by working directly with industries, governments and other organisations, by providing a voice for communities that would otherwise struggle to make themselves heard

A recent example of the organisation’s campaign work has been on the impact of all-inclusive resorts on communities in popular destinations such as Majorca, Kenya and Goa. Tourism Concern is campaigning to highlight the problems associated with these resorts for local businesses, the main issue being that the vast majority of tourists’ money goes into foreign-owned resorts rather than into the local economy. What’s more, there’s often great inequality between hotel residents and local people; in Kenya, for instance, 87% of tourists stay on an all-inclusive basis, but over half the locals live on less than $1 a day. Unsurprisingly, it’s been found that this often leads to increased negative attitudes towards tourists.

Unsurprisingly, it’s been found that all-inclusive resorts can lead to increased negative attitudes towards tourists within local communities.

Another recent campaign, ‘Trekking Wrongs: Porters' Rights’, raised awareness of the plight of the porters who are paid to carry travellers’ luggage on mountain treks in areas such as the Himalayas and Peru. These porters face frostbite, altitude sickness and even death in their jobs, but they are often treated like slaves. As well as issuing guidance to tourists on how to ensure they choose an ethical travel company, Tourism Concern is working with the tour operators themselves to implement a code of best practice, improving working conditions and pay for porters.

We’re thrilled to be working with Tourism Concern and encourage you to have a read of their Ethical Travel Issues pages to learn more about the issues they’re campaigning about.