Lest’s be realistic!

Regardless how moving it is to think about the world, ethics and mankind, we need to be realistic. Couldn’t the use of leisure to address everyday life problem, or meet development goals be risky in any sort? Could tourism, an industry driven by frivolous craves, set reasonable limits and take a virtuous path? Hard to believe! Tourism is seasonal, whimsical whereas development, livelihood and welfare are everyday struggles. Tourists come and go, and destinations grow in popularity then risk to be out of fashion. In that prospect, it is hard to consider tourism as a reliable development tool.

And then what?! Tourists, responsible? Responsible for what?! Can we be responsible of a world that we discover for the first time? The functioning, the stakes and the needs of which we don’t understand ? Tourists are just passing by. They don’t know anything about the places they visit. This is in fact why they ask a professional to organize the details of their stay there. After all, a traveler, alone, far away from home, without any point of reference nor cost of life nations is at a disadvantage with the people living there. How can we talk about equity or altruism when a traveler attracts attention over him and must be on the lookout to avoid possible scams? Development is the matter of the people living it, travel the matter of those experiencing it and toured the matter of professionals.

In these conditions, do travelers have the least bit of responsibility? Some will say: “yes! They must choose a responsible tour operator.” Would that mean that responsibility comes down to a simple consumption act? And then what? Because the commercial added value is ethics and charity, does it mean it is more reliable? We know tourism’s marketing excesses, can we really trust them? We must take into account that tourism is a difficult industry! No matter their love for the world and the people, one should not forget that professionals are hard to trust. They sometimes don’t even know the destinations they sell and rely on local partners or suppliers. There is so much competition and customers are really demanding. They merely serve as vouchers to ensure personal protection and quality of services. How can they take into account local development goals? Same thing for tourists! All they want is to buy as cheap as possible! No one wories about ethics.

All the more since the holidays are a moment behind the normal run of life. It could not reflect our moral values. And this is often the leitmotiv of any well orchestrated holiday: to become somebody else for a moment. It is a brief unloosening of day-to-day existence during which, expenditures, walks of life and occupations upheaval our habits. It is a moment centered on oneself, how can one resist the caprices not to worry about his acts? Especially when there is usually not enough time to think about anything. The minute you left, it is already time to pack your luggages and return home, back to work. The people there don’t waste time thinking when it comes to ripe our economy. By the way, the holidays usually start by locking up in a metal box weighing hundreds of tones, that an unknown man will fling to the other side of the world at hundreds of Km/h speed. Is that the mark of a responsible person?

What could tourists or tourism be responsible for? People? Cultures? The environment? Economies? How can one translate ethics in travel terms?

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One thought on “Lest’s be realistic!

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