What is sustainable tourism for RESPONS? Our view is based on the following four angles, which we seek to accomplish in all products that we develop, especially when talking about Community-based tourism, our strenght.
Through sustainable tourism, you add an economic value to the natural resources that the product is based on, and as such create an alternative for unsustainable resource use. Also, country people tend to develop a pride of their nature, and create more willingness to conserve. Of course, tourism committees should be committed to performing concrete conservation activities, for example creating native tree nurseries, replanting medicinal plants, cleaning actions or educational tours that teach visitors about the natural environment they are visiting and its local uses.
A product is socially sustainable when it assures that the existing social balance in a community is not disturbed drastically because of the project’s development. A just income distribution should be guaranteed, a large part of the community members should in a way benefit from the project, every community member should know about the project and agree with it, and any conflict should be avoided, or carefully dealt with.
This angle is comparable to environmental sustainability, but then for cultural resources. To obtain cultural sustainability, one should not just ensure that cultural resources are not disappearing (more), but also actively engage in their conservation and protection.
If a tourism product doesn’t sell, it doesn’t benefit anybody. Commercially, it needs to work. RESPONS is answering to a need amongst the tourism projects to improve their economic sustainability. RESPONS is a specialized agency that works in a just but efficient way with the communities to offer their products to mainstream markets. Together with you, our visitors, we will benefit a large amount of country people and help conserving their natural and cultural resources.
Sustainable tourism encourages cultural conservation and intercultural understanding. It also benefits residents, conserves resources and strives for quality instead of quantity. That is the vision of RESPONS.