How to choose a responsible tour operator

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According to a 2021 American Express Global Travel Trends report, which spoke to consumers around the world, 68% of travellers are looking for sustainability-friendly travel brands. It also found that 72% are passionate about travelling to destinations to boost tourism revenue and the local economy.

We hardly need the stats to know that responsible travel is here to stay. The travel industry is awash with sustainable, regenerative, transformative, positive impact, responsible and purpose-driven themes. So much so that it can dilute the message. Making an educated decision about where to spend your hard-earned cash has never seemed more complicated. It’s also more critical than ever.

1. Prioritising locally owned hosts, experiences and accommodations

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, for every US$100 spent by a tourist on holiday to a developing country, only US$5 remains in the host community.

This phenomenon is known as tourism’s ‘leakage’ problem. The problem is often supply chains funnelling funds overseas, for example, via foreign-owned hotel chains, accommodations and restaurants, reliance on international suppliers and brands, non-local ground handlers and operators and even non-local guides and employees.

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