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What does responsible tourism mean? 

Responsible tourism refers to an approach to tourism that emerged in the late 1980s and is characterized by a dual concern for the environment of the places visited by tourists and the well-being of the populations that live there. In most cases, the term is used in reference to tourism in Third World or developing countries, where a crucial part of the planet's environmental heritage is concentrated and where populations often face difficulties.

But if we apply this concept to the everyday experience of a trip to Africa, what does it mean to be a responsible tourist?

Perhaps to understand this, we must first answer some questions.


1. Why shouldn't we give money to children?

In Africa, children are everywhere, and it is quite common that when they see us, they ask for money. We must bear in mind that the very little money that tourists give to children can become a source of income for local families that, in serious difficulty, may prefer to leave their children on the streets to beg rather than sending them to school. In this way, we destroy the future of those children.

Donations are good, but it is important to make them through structures that can make a real contribution to the lives of children. Inform yourself before leaving or when you are on the spot, look for associations that can tell you what can be useful to do for them.


2. Where is it more appropriate to stay or eat?

Whenever we choose accommodation and a restaurant run by local people, we will contribute to the local economy, encourage individual initiatives and contribute to the self-development of the country. And, equally important, we will take a small step towards discovering a distant and welcoming world.


3. Why should we be careful about what we buy?

There are shells, jewelry, belts, carpets, and an innumerable series of artisanal products, different from country to country, that are made with protected and endangered animals. Buying them means plundering a collective heritage and damaging the economy and the future of the country. Let's pay attention before buying something and try to understand if our souvenir will really be the memory of a journey that has brought us closer to others with respect for the nature, people, and animals that live in the land that is hosting us.