Responsible Tourism The term responsible tourism (RT) refers to an attitude of respect to the places and people which the traveler is in contact with during their stay in the destination country. RT is a wide concept that includes environmental respect, already defined by the sustainable tourism movement, and specially cultural and social respect to the host people and societies. RT underlines that it is important for industry and consumers to take responsibility for their actions in tourism. The main objective here is to create better places for hosts and visitors. The RT definition comes from the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism in Destinations, resolved in the Cape Town Conference of the same name in 2002, which preceded the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Earth Summit 2002) held in Johannesburg. The Cape Town Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations was attended by 280 delegates from 20 countries. According to The Cape Town Declaration, responsible tourism: • minimises negative economic, environmental, and social impacts; • generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of host communities, improves working conditions and access to the industry; • involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances; • makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, to the maintenance of the world's diversity; • provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues; • provides access for physically challenged people; and • is culturally sensitive, engenders respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence. These are the characteristics of responsible tourism. Its complete definition can be found in the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism in Destinations document.
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