Responsible Travel: Be the change that you wish to see in the world
Boracay is being shut down for the next 6 months following concerns of excessive damage to its once pristine shores. The tiny island, known for its white-sandy beaches, attracted nearly 2 million visitors last year putting a strain on its environmental health.
The closure of Boracay is an unprecedented event that affects the economy, local businesses and resident communities. But let’s say it out loud: where there is tourism, there is trash. And now more than ever, we should be looking at how we can travel more responsibly.
Responsible tourism is actually quite simple: be socially and culturally aware when you travel. Minimize your impact on the environment and maximize the positive contributions you can make to local communities. If left unchecked, large-scale tourism can damage ecosystems, pollute environments and exploit communities. It doesn’t mean, however, that we should stop development and stay home.
Progress and developing tourism can be a good thing. In Siargao, another Philippine island that has experienced massive growth, the tourism industry provides jobs and improves the wealth in the area. The benefits trickle down to small communities like farmers, boatmen and market vendors.
Drawn by good year-round waves, tranquillity and unspoilt beauty, a small group of passionate Aussies, American, European and now Filipino surfers are still living the good life in Siargao. Many never leave and made the island their home. But the recent surge in development has put Siargao’s natural resources under great stress.
In the documentary series #OffTheGrid, Grid Magazine’s Francisco Guerrero talks to Siargao’s residents about their worries and hopes, how they fight to preserve it and even better the situation on the island they call home.
There will always be some trade-off between development and protecting ecology and culture. But mass tourism and environmental protection aren’t mutually exclusive. As Francisco puts it: “As travelers, we often talk about what we take home; we should also ask what we are leaving behind.”
Immerse yourself within the local culture and see yourself as a unity rather than an outsider. Get the be app – travel and city guide series for authentic travel experiences.
? Rafael Nogalo “Party Waves with the Gang” (IG @party_animal102396)
GRID Magazine is a love letter to the Philippines; a magazine for travelers, by travelers. For more information, visit their website: http://www.gridmagazine.ph/