For a long time, it has been a common belief that responsible tourism, seen as an immersive travel experience that aims to foster local communities, had revolutionized the way of travelling. Who wouldn’t love to visit a place attractions and at the same time live a unique experience that can convey a feeling of “authenticity”?
Local tourism has enormously developed in the past few decades, while the emergence of social networks has triggered the quest to the most instagrammable experiences and locations. It is now time to reflect on which consequences and what impact the so-called “sustainable-responsible tourism” has on its destinations.
Are we responsible tourists?
The main and most obvious consequence is represented by the damage to the local population. Tourists are so deeply involved in the life of a community that they end up to change its features, twist its distinctive traits and eventually ruin that so much sought after authenticity. So the small craft workshops are forced to close, while large chains of shops open, squares and streets seem to become narrow because of the overpopulation and the traditional cuisine tries loses its authenticity to please the tourists’ taste.
What are we looking for in the places we visit? Are we able to respect them?
This tourist trend, whose focus is local realities, comes from the desire of authenticity and from the research of experiences not undergone yet and considered as a centrepiece of the journey from the tourist’s point of view who has already seen and tried everything in the market.
Tourism cannot be felt as responsible if it affects the way of life of the local inhabitants and their peculiar characteristics. If we really want to support the economy of a place and to promote and protect its culture and social network, in fact, we need to put in the first-place respect and protection.
How can local communities be protected?
Making those who travel meet with those who welcome. Relying on small local organizations means encouraging a network of coexistence and support between tourists and local people. Therefore, in this way we don’t only protect local artisans, restaurateurs and hoteliers, but we also create awareness and closeness with people who make possible to enjoy the most beautiful and unforgettable services and experiences in the panorama of our destination.
This is the Like Locals in Italy model
We all would like to have friends in the places we visit in order to fully understand the culture, traditions and ways of life. Visiting a place with a person who lives there is the solution that Like Locals offers. In this way, we don’t only support local economies but also contribute to bring up a form of tourism that is more respectful of the destination and of those who live there. This also allows us to get out of the common tourist circuits, living a new reality in a responsible and conscious way.