Tricia Barnett: We must consider the people who live where we like to holiday

Podium

Share
Related Topics

THE SLOGAN for the most environmentally friendly travelling used to be: "Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints". How times have changed. The footprint we now talk about is a human rights footprint. It includes the environment, the economy and the social and cultural impacts of tourism. Those who are most affected live in the world's poorest destinations and feel powerless.

What dominates the stories we hear is people's lack of choice. Many would like tourism to continue but in a way that they, their families and their communities can benefit from. Tourism for them can be a strange force that arrives without their permission or without any prior discussion. These are primarily people from poor countries whose governments are encouraged to support tourism development in order to pay off debt and bring in foreign exchange. Too much of what is developed is fuelled by greed and profit.

Tourism's footprint accounts for huge numbers of displaced people who live on and work on the beaches where we take our holidays. It accounts for dismal wages and appalling working conditions and for the exploitation of children. And of course tourism's footprint plunders the very environment it depends on.

Those campaigning to challenge this powerful and unsustainable industry are gaining a foothold. A determined group of Bahamian islanders have successfully fought to prevent the complete destruction of Bimini by outsider hotel and second-home developers; in Zanzibar villagers now have water and access to their beach – both cut off by a new "eco- hotel", and porters' working conditions are being monitored as they come in from their Kilimanjaro treks.

But the biggest movement of all is from the world's poor who are claiming their own right to earn income from tourism and who welcome guests with genuine warmth, because they have learned to manage their own community based tourism. It is the footprint from our actions to support people's rights that we need to see more of.



Tricia Barnett is the Director of Tourism Concern. She will be taking part in the debate 'Environmental Impacts on Tourism' at the Royal Geographical Society, London SW7, today

www.tourismconcern.org.uk, www.rgs.org.uk

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

 

Errors & Omissions: how to spell BBQ and other linguistic irregularities

Guy Keleny
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own