April 01, 2008

Siteseeing - 17

ResponsibleTravel & The Responsible Tourism Awards

Responsible Travel is a bit of a thing with us, starting with hikes in the Sahyadris as a college student; the Adventurers and Mountaineers Club walked with a large bag, where all hikers were supposed to dump their garbage, on pain of ostracism. ‘Take nothing by memories, leave nothing but footprints’ and all that. So it was a delight to chance upon these sites. The first claims hand-picked listings for 270 tour operators, and they cover pretty much all of the planet and various preferences, ‘over 160 countries, 250 different types of activities.’ (Yes, 173 India holidays as of this writing.) And it’s not just agents and operators—we would not have bothered with the site if that was it—but a lot of accommodation-only options, even self-catered and volunteering opportunities. The site also features unedited user reviews of listed holidays to help you make your choices, and the ability to book holidays through them. RT also created and runs the awards site, a reflection of the need to honours best practices in responsible travel. The awards ‘recognise individuals, companies and organisations in the travel industry that are making a significant commitment to the culture and economies of local communities and are providing a positive contribution to biodiversity conservation.’ You’re too late to nominate entries to the 2008 awards, but you can check out previous winners and their accomplishments. Go green, my children.

Published in Outlook Traveller, April 2008.

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