Responsible tourism in India
Responsible tourism in India is becoming an increasingly popular mode of travel. And we’re glad it is, since responsible travel is the need of the hour. At India Someday, we’re glad to help you become more responsible travellers, whether it’s through small changes or supporting ethical tourism initiatives. From being environmentally-conscious, to respecting the culture of the people, our guide on responsible tourism in India is a must-read.
What is responsible travel?
Responsible travel asks us to take into consideration the impact of our travel choices on the environment and the local cultures of our destinations. Being a responsible traveller means ensuring your travel impact is as low as possible, and positive when unavoidable. It also warrants a responsibility of knowing the ethical practices of the companies and organisations you patronize.
8 easy ways to be a part of responsible tourism
Consciously making decisions to be a responsible traveller is the first step towards responsible tourism in India and elsewhere. We’ve listed down 8 easy points that are a sure-fire way of positively combating that carbon footprint.
- Opt for authenticity over conventionality. Choose homestays and BnBs over chain hotels. Shopping at local markets is always fun, while eating at local joints instead of mainstream recommendations gives you authentic culinary experiences. Patronize initiatives supporting the livelihood & skills of marginalised communities or local craftsmen. The Anokhi Museum in Rajasthan is trying to preserve the dying handicraft and art form of hand printing, while Sadhna supports handicrafts made by the women of rural, tribal and urban slum areas in southern Rajasthan. Sheroes’ Hangout Café in Agra is an entrepreneurial project that is managed by acid attack survivors. These are just a few examples, there are several more.
- Respect local customs, traditions and rituals wherever you go. Remove your shoes before entering temples and mosques, and cover your shoulders and legs in sacred places. Don’t disturb people in prayer or meditation. Finally, always ask for permission before taking someone’s photo. Being cognizant of your surroundings is an equally important aspect of responsible tourism.
- Travel without increasing your carbon footprint. Ideally avoid private transportation and flights. Opt instead for public transportation. Cycling, walking, buses, taxis, metros & tuktuks, and shared Ubers work well for local journeys. Longer distances can be covered with overnight buses and trains instead of flights. Go through our blogs if you’re looking at some tour ideas for the same.
- Reduce the wastage of plastic and food. Carry a water filter bottle and wherever possible, refill it with water. Ask hotels if they have water filters to refill and avoid purchasing plastic bottles, despite their convenience. Carry around a cotton bag to avoid being handed plastic ones and invest in a foldable metal straw and metal cutlery. Do not waste food if you can help it. This is perhaps the simplest way to promote responsible tourism in India and the world.
- Always do a little research when it comes to wildlife tourism. Certain organisations like Wildlife SOS and TOFT Tigers are eco-conscious and reliable. There’s several others that are sketchy and don’t have the welfare of the animals at heart. Try to ensure that you are well informed on elephant-back safaris, and avoid them if possible. India Someday can help you with this; just shoot us an email or click on Plan Your Trip.
- Support responsible & sustainable tourism projects. There are several such projects in the tourism industry, such as Reality Tours, that provides city walks and tours. It is a social business that uses a profit sharing model to fund their sister-NGO Reality Gives. The Salaam Baalak trust that provides a sensitive and caring environment to street and working children, also has a Delhi city tour you can go on. It is led by the same children they nurture. Opt for eco-friendly bicycle tours or walking tours when you can. Additionally, choose to stay at hotels like Indhrivanam, a vegan eco cottage, and CGH Earth eco-luxury hotels.
- Voluntourism, though appealing, is also to be approached with caution. Volunteer for something you are skilled at, and volunteer for a decent period of time. A few months’ work of a skill you possess will make a world of difference. Dropping in to a school or orphanage will only serve to make you feel better, without actually helping the children. Making informed decisions is the best way to approach this.
- Choose local small-scale travel agents with good practices to plan your trip. Supporting an organisation run by locals is beneficial to the local economy. Also, who better than a local to help guide you on responsibly traversing across their country? Ditch the large corporations for some local authenticity. India Someday is proud to be one of these local organisations, and we’d be happy to help you in any way possible!
India Someday recommends
You don’t just have to be a long-term volunteer to help communities in your destination. India Someday has vetted several organisations, and we are happy to help promote responsible tourism in India. Alongside the aforementioned Reality Tours and the Salaam Baalak Trust, consider these options when looking at activities you can participate in.
- LHA in McLeodganj offers Tibetan cooking classes and even considers drop-in volunteers.
- Clap Global, located in Mumbai, is perfect for travellers looking to get in a few hours of volunteering while in the city. You have the opportunity to speak about your country to a group of young children; contact us to know more.
- Vanghat Eco Lodge in the Jim Corbett National Park is an eco-friendly lodge with loads of activities for children and adults.
- Sunder Rang crafts in Rajasthan maintains and supports the local craft skills of the women in Chandelao village, creating a sustainable source of income for them.
- Dhonk crafts in Ranthambore trains the wives of ex-poachers, and gives an alternative form of employment to those previously involved in illegal woodcutting, grazing and hunting.
- Women on Wheels, located in major metropoles like Delhi, Jaipur and Kolkata, empowers women by placing them behind the wheel.
- The women of Pink City Rickshaw take you around Jaipur and Udaipur, driving you to the main sites and making your memories of travel in India interesting.
how India Someday supports responsible trAVEL
As a company that has helped scores of people have the perfect trip across India, India Someday takes several of its own measures to support responsible tourism in India. Wherever we can, we suggest travel by train. We book stays in warm, family-run businesses, homestays and eco-friendly hotels. We recommend local vendors and markets that cut out the middle-man. Additionally, we rope our vendors in as well- ensuring they use big water containers our guests can refill from, and informing them on which places support responsible tourism.
We also support social projects, and have the thrill of taking a group of underprivileged children on a lovely holiday once a year. We have vetted animal-related activities as much as possible, only recommending animal-friendly and socially responsible activities. All our clients receive tip documents at the start of every trip, that mentions recommendations supporting responsible travel. When it comes to things like these, we will always keep you well-informed and leave the final call to you.
We hope this guide has helped you realize there’s simple ways to travel better. If you’d like a customized trip that ensures responsible travel in India, just hit Plan Your Trip and we’ll get it done.
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