Domestic tourism in the country was growing steadily as indicated in the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife’s research report on domestic tourism recovery strategies. However, its growth was dampened by the Coronavirus pandemic. When inbound travel reduced, travel within the country proved to be resilient and kept the hope of things getting better in the future alive. With the exception of times when there are lockdowns in certain counties that are experiencing high infection rates, Kenyans are open to travel for different reasons. One good example to show this is the recently held World Safari Rally in Naivasha. The event drew in both local and international enthusiasts that increased the region’s hotel bookings by large percentages.
As domestic tourism slowly but surely recuperates, we have an opportunity to approach it more responsibly. This will ensure the longevity of tourism resources, their aesthetic and intrinsic value is kept intact and their proper management maintained. Sustainable tourism, also known as responsible tourism, involves the deliberate efficient use and management of natural, social and economic aspects of an area. Whether we are already traveling within the country or plan to do so post the pandemic, it is crucial we adopt sound sustainable practices.
RESPONSIBLE TOURIST IN ACTION
The tourist has the power to contribute significantly towards responsible tourism. The following highlights some ways we can practice responsible tourism;
- Visit less trafficked sites
Look for travel attraction sites that are less known to avoid running into many visitors. This can act as a Covid-19 countermeasure. It can also put less pressure on the available resources i.e. less crowding, less queuing etc.
- Reduce waste
Plan well before traveling to minimize the amount of waste you produce. You can do this by carrying your own water bottle, lunch containers or eco-friendly carrier bag. Identify sustainable alternatives to plastics and use the designated area for waste collection.
A good traveler takes only memories and leaves no tracks– Anonymous
- Conservation effort
Contribute to the conservation effort of a reputable organization or the accommodation facility you are staying at. You can do this by volunteering or contributing funds or specifically requested items.
- Purchase local goods and services
Buying from the local market brings direct profit to the local community which helps in improving their livelihood. This can be achieved by eating at local eateries, hiring local guides, buying souvenirs that are locally made etc.
- Buy packages from tourism service providers committed to sustainability
Conduct your research before buying tour packages or any tourism service and products. You can ask them if they are eco-rated or have sustainable practices. Kindly avoid those who green-wash as they do more harm than good.
You can communicate your stand or commitment to responsible travel practices to your friends. You can also share the same on your social media and encourage other travelers to adopt these practices. Post photos and stories of your travels to encourage others to adopt a responsible mindset when choosing to travel.
What other practices can we pick up as responsible travelers? Let us know in the comments below.
Thank you for reading!