Family Travel and Responsible Tourism

Family Travel and Responsible Tourism

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“The younger that one becomes aware of the importance of preserving our delicate planet, the more involved and dedicated they become in their life,” says Claire André de Cerff, the research and development manager at Inkaterra, a collection of properties at the forefront of ecotourism and sustainable development in Peru.

family travel and responsible tourism: learning about marine life in Fiji

Learning about marine life in Fiji. Photo courtesy of Tourism Fiji

The quote above cuts to the quick of a topic all too often mired in industry jargon and politics. Many, many travelers have no idea what “responsible tourism” means or why it should be paired with family travel. Nor do they care how it dovetails with associated concepts like “sustainable travel,” “impact travel,” “transformational travel,” or even old-school “ecotourism.” Academics and niche-market tour operators are known to quibble about this stuff, but you and other travelers should not need to.

Far more important to all of us, especially adults traveling with children, should be what underpins a legitimate, gibberish-free appeal: that as more and more of us hit the road, especially family groups of two or sometimes three generations, it behooves older generations to unselfishly share with the young not only the majesty of today’s world but the critical skills needed to preserve it for tomorrow. So that in future years, those youngsters can wonder at the same majesty with their kids and grandkids.

We do this by taking responsibility for our actions as travelers.

In other words, “Families should embrace responsible travel because it’s a simple way to show their kids — the world’s future — that the planet needs a hand,” advises Stephanie Sheehy, General Manager of Il Viaggio Travel, a tour operator based in Costa Rica and certified with level 4 (of 5) sustainability according to Costa Rican criteria.

Fortunately, it really is simple, as Sheehy and a group of travel experts have made clear in How to Be a Responsible Family Travel Champion: Top Tips. Now we just need to act, especially given the pressing environmental, cultural, social and political problems we face as a planet.

“With 2017 being the United Nations-declared International Year for Sustainable Tourism for Development, we are hoping that this will increase the overall awareness of the environmental, economic and social impact of travelers,” remarks Jonathan Reap, the PR manager in North America for Tourism Fiji, the Fijian government’s tourism marketing arm.

So am I. So are a lot of people. So are many traveling families and the businesses that support them. That’s the reason for this article: a collection of reasons and arguments that we hope will convince everyone to engage in more responsible family travel.


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