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  RESPONSIBLE TOURISM > What is Responsible Tourism?
Responsible Tourism was defined in Cape Town in 2002 alongside the World Summit on Sustainable Development. This definition, the Cape Town Declaration is now widely accepted and has been adopted by the World Travel Market in 2007 for World Responsible Tourism Day.

The Cape Town Declaration called "upon countries, multilateral agencies, destinations and enterprises to develop similar practical guidelines and to encourage planning authorities, tourism businesses, tourists and local communities - to take responsibility for achieving sustainable tourism, and to create better places for people to live in and for people to visit."

Responsible Tourism is about taking responsibility for achieving sustainable development through tourism. Responsible Tourism places the emphasis on applying principles, which can be found in the Cape Town Declaration, for economic, social and environmentally sustainable development through tourism; and recognizes that the priorities and mechanisms will be different in different places reflecting our world's natural and cultural diversity.

Recognising that Responsible Tourism takes many forms, that different destinations and stakeholders will have different priorities, and that local policies and guidelines will need to be developed through multi-stakeholder processes to develop responsible tourism in destinations.

Having the following characteristics, Responsible Tourism:

  • minimises negative economic, environmental and social impacts;
  • generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the wellbeing of host communities, improves working conditions and access to the industry;
  • involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life changes;
  • 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;
  • is culturally sensitive, engenders respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence.

2001 UN WTO Global Code of Ethics

2002 Cape Town Declaration principles and approaches to Responsible Tourism

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