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Child Welfare and the Travel Industry – Global Good Practice Guidelines

Categories: Human Rights, People and Places
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As the demand for experiential travel and social, cultural, and community-based tourism grows, so do the risk factors for children as well as potential risks for your staff and reputation. Children deserve and need the power of the tourism industry and associated businesses to adopt approaches that not only recognize their vulnerability but also seek to mitigate risks to them. Most of the time these risks are solely linked to possible sexual exploitation and/or abuse, but there are other harm factors that the industry needs to work to address. For example, is your business considerate of how you use images of children in marketing and advertising? Do your products include activities with potential negative impacts, such as visiting schools or orphanages? Do your clients know that giving money to (or buying gifts from) a begging child is harmful?

In 2017, ChildSafe partnered with G Adventures and Planeterra Foundation to develop practical, international guidelines for the travel industry to use within their own companies and initiatives, a first of their kind. They extend beyond obviously harmful behaviors and expose the potential negative effects of common, well-intentioned efforts.

There are 15 guidelines organized under four sections to offer businesses a structured approach for implementation:

  1. Guidelines to ensure your company is able to prevent and respond to child abuse arising from tourism interactions
  2. Guidelines for your products and services to have the best impact on children
  3. Guidelines to ensure your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives are reinforcing child welfare
  4. Guidelines for implementation

These guidelines have been developed to provide a common understanding of child welfare issues throughout the travel industry and to provide all travel businesses with guidance to prevent all forms of exploitation and abuse of children that could be related to travelers and the tourism industry. In short, they will enable you to do more good through your business.

 

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A sustainable start – teaching sustainability at home

Categories: Green Tips
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Credit: Shutterstock

Credit: Shutterstock

Living green isn’t difficult, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a “lifestyle choice” either. It’s something that can be easily turned into habit, and something that can be easily taught at home.

 

If we can teach our children, then they – and their children – can have a greater chance of inhabiting this planet for generations to come.

 

Here are some tips for teaching and practicing sustainability at home:

 

  1. Lead by example: practice simple measures at such as turning the lights off when a room is not in use, separating waste, taking shorter showers, and spending more time outside. Get some ideas on sustainable everyday life choices from our last Green Tip of 2017.

 

  1. Make it ubiquitous: conscious consumption in the home is one way to ingrain sustainable practices. If buying local or second hand is prioritized, children will surely follow suit – we know well that brand loyalty starts young! If you must buy “new” here are some green toys that kids will love.

 

  1. Make it fun. Learning (and teaching) is much easier when it’s fun. Here are some ideas for experiments, crafts, and activities that can create a lasting impact.
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Beginning at home – the next generation of sustainable travelers

Categories: Blog Posts
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by Jackie Edwards, editor, researcher and writer 

Sustainable Tourism: Ways Your Trip Can Have a Positive Impact

When we go on holiday to a new place, it is increasingly important to us to learn as much as we can about the local atmosphere and culture. Often, the best part of the trip is when we are able to interact with the people and place in an authentic way.

As the world around us is affected by climate change and transitioning environments, our efforts to travel in a sustainable way become more crucial to the conservation of the beautiful wildlife and sights we encounter. By incorporating sustainability on our holidays, we can do our part in making a positive, ethical impact on local environments and communities.

Impacts of Tourism on the Environment

Unfortunately, as traveling is made easier and more countries develop tourism industries, the environment usually takes a toll. Increasing the need for resources, the consumption percentages of local products and produce, and the use of public transportation often leads to pollution and negative impacts on the ecosystem. Research in sustainable tourism has shown that many places are not equipped to efficiently conserve the environment while maintaining the influx of travelers. For example, the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, where water is scarce, uses 12 million litres of water per year. In the Caribbean, where tourists love to snorkel and scuba-dive, around two-thirds of coral reefs are in danger. These facts should be frightening to us; our trips, while seemingly fun for the whole family, may be damaging the world that contains our fondest holiday memories.

Photo: Dawid Zawila

Steps You Can Take to Further Sustainability

The facts of the changing environment should be kept in mind when planning your next holiday, and thankfully there are a number of solutions for a sustainable trip.

The best way to further your sustainable efforts is to begin at home. Teaching conservation to your family while at home and on holiday will spawn the next generation of sustainable travelers. By playing simple environmental games, like I-Spy to learn about new species on your trip, or trash pick-up on the beach, you can inspire your children to maintain a healthy environment. Also, it’s great fun for the whole family to keep a list or tally of all the new animals you may encounter on holiday. Your children will be the first ones to the beach in the morning, looking for tiny crabs and seagulls to add to the list. 

In addition to sharing sustainable knowledge with the family, it is important to make sure that your holiday is planned with the environment in mind, in terms of the residence you book, the activities you organize, and the items you pack. Avoiding all-inclusive resorts and restaurants that don’t use sustainable animal products are small ways you can positively impact the environment. Also, spend an afternoon volunteering in a beach clean-up or at the community park instead of going on a boat tour or shopping. This will teach your family the importance of sustainability in every new environment you encounter together.

Sustainable tourism is increasingly important in our world of shifting climates. Knowing the small steps you and your family can take while on holiday will leave a great impact in the long run, helping both the local community and conservation efforts worldwide.

Read more about teaching children the importance of fish and wildlife conservation.

Read A Complete Guide to Travel for Seniors

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author(s) and those providing comments on these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) or any employee thereof. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any information presented by individual authors and/or commenters on our blogs and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.

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Travelling breaks down barriers and promotes diversity. Travel is about shared experiences and building friendships. It is a great way to learn understanding for different customs.

If we teach our children how to make the right travel choices, it can not only benefit them, but it will also make the world a better place.

 

Here are some ways to travel more responsibly with your children:

 

  1. Choose sustainable transport

Explain to children how biking, walking or using public transport is much better for the planet and then choose one of those modes of transport every day during your holiday. Understanding the impact of your carbon footprint will help children to grow into more responsible travellers. Read more on green transportation here.

 

  1. Choose responsible destinations

Make time to plan your trip together with your children – research each destination’s commitment to the protection of people, animals, sites of important historic interests and, of course, the environment. Participating in this process enables younger travellers to learn about the importance of sustainable and responsible travel. Read about top destinations that enforce sustainable tourism here.

 

  1. Get off the beaten path

Choose places where you may connect with locals and learn about their traditions. Building closer connections with a place is much more enjoyable and inspiring for you and your children. Consider asking your tour operator about participating in a community based tour or a local handcraft activity.

 

  1. Encounter wildlife with respect

Teach your children a few basic rules and lead by example: use a quiet voice, do not touch, feed or get too close to wildlife and always obey the rules and instructions.

 

Showing children how to travel responsibly now will shape them into empathic and compassionate travellers and more learned members of society. And by travelling with them as responsible adults it’s a fascinating learning experience for the entire family.

Read more on sustainable travel with children here.

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Photograph: AAP

Children at an orphanage outside the capital, Phnom Penh. Photograph: AAP

Volunteers and visitors urged to stay away, saying their growing presence damages children and allows exploitation.

Child protection and NGO workers are pleading with tourists and volunteers to stay away from orphanages in Cambodia, claiming so-called “orphanage tourism” damages the children and enables exploitation. Read more.

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Behavioural Responses of Dingoes to Tourists on Fraser Island

Categories: Uncategorized
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This study investigates some of the ways in which dingoes are affected by tourists on Fraser Island, with a view to providing recommendations that may help reduce the threat of attacks on tourists by dingoes.

by Kate Lawrance and Karen Higginbottom

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Behavioural Responses of Dingoes to Tourists on Fraser Island

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