How to Engage in Ethical Tourism 0 142

How to Engage in Ethical Tourism 0 143

Buddha statue Anuradhapura

During your travel to Sri Lanka, aim to create a difference by leaving more than just your footprints. Give back to the local community and environment in any way, whether you’re staying in budget hotels in Mirissa or dining at a local restaurant in Trincomalee. Here’s how you can engage in ethical tourism during your holiday.

What is Ethical Tourism?

With an increase in tourism, be mindful of the impact you have on the environment and society. Tourism can be good or bad to a country. It can either be incredibly helpful and aid in building local communities, but it can also lead to loss of culture and exploitation.

Support local businesses

When you’re in Sri Lanka, always support local businesses, whether it’s a hotel, restaurant or a retail outlet. Buy vegetables from local market vendors, food from small scale restaurants or stay at budget-friendly accommodation options like a home-stay. Contrary to popular belief and numerous travel blogs and guides, a majority of locals are not a fan of bargains! Granted, some vendors expect it, but avoid letting your bargaining skills get out of control. That extra 100 bucks might not make much of a difference to you, but it can mean the world to your vendor.

Leave the wild in the wild

There’s only one place to watch wild animals, and that’s in the wild. Avoid visiting zoos entirely. In Sri Lanka, either head to the national parks to look for leopards, elephants, peacocks, sloth bears, crocodiles and birds or embark on a whale and dolphin watching excursion in Mirissa or Trincomalee. If you’re snorkelling, don’t pick anything that belongs in the sea, this includes colourful corals and any marine life. Activities which involves touching or interacting with a wild animal should be a big NO. This includes holding baby sea turtles, riding elephants, petting baby crocodiles, etc.

Be respectful

Respecting the local culture and religion is one of the most important things when you’re in a foreign country. Keep in mind that as a visitor, you should follow certain rules when visiting sacred shrines for example. Remember not to take photographs inside temples as it is prohibited. Always cover your knees and shoulders before visiting sacred places of worship.

Use public transport

Using public transport will not just be beneficial to your wallet and the local community, but you’ll also save on carbon emissions and reduce pollution. Train rides are deemed to be the most fun and scenic.  In rural areas, opt for a bicycle if it’s available, as it’s a fun way to explore the island.

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