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While Travelling 5 - Questions for your travel agent
Tourism: more facts

5 nations (USA, Japan, Germany, the UK and France) account for over half of all tourist spending.
Source: WTO, 1997

80% of international tourists travel with a package tour operator.

Questions for your travel agent

A trip to a foreign country can result in far more than a tan and some photographs. A little thought can highlight some concerns. A little consideration can go a long way to reducing your impact.

Here are some questions for you and your travel agent when you go on holiday.

Why am I taking this trip?
Tour/tourism derives from a Hebrew word, Tora, which means to study, learn or search.

What environmental impact will I have on the country I visit?

Several areas of the world are already experiencing difficulties coping with the additional influx of visitors.

What natural resources will I consume getting to and from the country?
The number of international air passengers worldwide rose from 88 million in 1972 to 344 million in 1994. Source: International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Will I be supporting a repressive regime by travelling to this country?

Is my tour operator committed to strong ethical and environmental standards?

Who owns the hotel where I will stay?
A study of tourism 'leakage' in Thailand estimated that 70% of all money spent by tourists ended up leaving Thailand (via foreign-owned tour operators, airlines, hotels, imported drinks and food, etc). Source: Thai Institute for Development and Administration, Bangkok, 1990. Estimates for other Third World countries range from 80% in the Caribbean to 40% in India.

Will my tastes increase the demand for goods and services from my country?

What will I leave behind?

Will my purchases support the local economy?
30% of the workforce of The Gambia depend directly or indirectly on tourism.

Were local people forced out to make room for tourist development?
An average golf course in a tropical country such as Thailand needs 1500kg of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides per year and uses as much water as 60,000 rural villagers.

Have I educated myself about local customs and culture?

Does my presence create and/or improve local jobs?

How will my presence influence young people where I am staying?
In a study of 100 schoolchildren in Kalutara, Sri Lanka, 86 children had their first sexual experience aged 12 or 13... the majority with a foreign tourist.

Will I have an opportunity to involve myself in the local community?

After I return home, what will I do with my experiences?

How can I do it?

Book holidays through travel agents used to catering for the environmentally conscious traveler, such as:

Keys Travel, 92-96, Eversholt Street, London, NW1 1BP
Tel. 0171 387 4933


Further information

The Green Travel Guide by Greg Neil and Robert Lamb (Earthscan, 9.95) Published in association with WWFand British Airways . A detailed guide for travelers who wish to be responsible.

Campaign for Environmentally Responsible Tourism (CERT)
CERT harness the power of the travel and tourism industry, conservation bodies and the consumer to benefit the environment and its people and, in doing so, to safeguard the quality of destinations upon which the industry's long-term prosperity depends.

Tourism Concern Tel: 0171 753 3330

The new 'Green Globe 21' award will allow travelers to choose responsible holidays more easily.
Tel: 0171 235 2135

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