Responsible Tourism is about making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit, in that order. Interesting and enjoyable places to live in are great places to visit. The challenge of Responsible Tourism is to use tourism for sustainable development. The key question to ask is whether the place is being used by tourism, or whether the local community is using tourism? Responsible Tourism starts from the assumption that the place, and its natural and cultural heritage, has value for local people and the visitors. The aspiration is for forms of tourism which can best be characterised by the language of host and guest, where the relationships between locals and tourists, between visitors and visited, embody respect, accountability, transparency and responsibility.
Senior staff of the Institute of Place Management have been, and continue to be, at the forefront of responsible tourism practice and theory development. Director of Responsible Tourism, Professor Harold Goodwin, has run a series of International Conferences on Responsible Tourism in Destinations since 2002 when the Cape Declaration on Responsible Tourism in Destinations was passed at a side event to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. Chair of this Special Interest Group, Dr Heather Skinner, also chairs the annual IPM Corfu Symposium on Managing and Marketing Places.
Tourists and day visitors mix with residents and commuters in destinations. The aspirational language often used is that of hosts and guests, but this is rarely the experience of the traveller or the local, except in less visited places.
Tourists and day visitors are important stakeholders in the places they visit - but their interests, and that of the tourism industry, need to be addressed in a balanced way with those of the residents whose place it is.
Director of Responsible Tourism
Chair of the Responsible Tourism Special Interest Group