Most of us have probably taken up an all-inclusive holiday offer or a bundled deal at tremendous prices. This is great for us as customers as we get quality accommodation, and we know exactly what the total cost of the holiday will be. While this greatly benefits us in the short term, it can cause adverse effects for the destination we go to as most of these amazing deals are offered through large travel companies with no real connection to your chosen destination. This can really damage a local tourist industry and divert funds away from the infrastructure and facilities in the region. This is what is making this an unsustainable way to travel. Throughout this article, I will be trying to offer my advice on how we can get a local economy thriving while still having excellent quality holidays and not missing out on any of the attractions in the region.
Probably the biggest advantage of using a local company to help with any tour and accommodation bookings is the fact that you are helping to ensure that these, sometimes very small businesses will still be with us in years to come and not just a huge corporate resort where you never leave the compound. Responsible travel is not something new, but in recent years it has gained a lot of media attention, which has helped to inform people of the fact. It can also make your holiday experience more culturally rewarding, and it is also an essential part in safeguarding these fantastic locations from being nothing more than row after row of all inclusive resorts.
For us as holiday makers, we gain from using local guides and getting advice from people who live there and know all the best options to suit your travel ideas. This really makes a difference as you get to see some of the places where locals would go to relax and unwind and will give you a totally new perspective of the destination. The biggest difference we noticed was when it came to finding restaurants to eat at, normally we would follow the crowd and go to the most famous places in the area, but after speaking with a local tour company, they were able to point us in the direction of some off the beaten track eating houses where we found all the patrons were either native to the region or holiday makers like us doing it the local way. All in all, this turned out to be one of the best decisions we have made as the restaurant owner was great and spoke perfect English and actually directed us to what we think is the best hotel in Benidorm. Having visited Benidorm on many occasions just reinforces the point that the locals know what’s good and what’s not in the area.
By using the local businesses to help with your travel plans, you will automatically be helping the local economy. When we use large corporate agencies for all our bookings, most of the money will go to the company and not to businesses in that area. This is because these large companies will arrange a very cut price deal from the local hotel and in the end the percentage that the hotelier will make is so little it can really cripple a business.
The same can be said for any tours or day trips you plan to take. If we can use the locals for these things, then the money stays in their local area, which in turn will help for development and conservation effort. This will leave us knowing that the region will still be as picturesque as it is today and your choice of restaurants won’t be between KFC and McDonald’s. The more we can assist local business to keep a foothold in the tourism market the more education and resources will be delivered helping to inform the native people to conserve and cherish the natural beauty, which made it a tourist hot spot in the first place. There are some great informative resources online explaining more in detail how we can travel responsibly and help to preserve the natural wonders of the countries we visit.
Ariana Louis is a regular contributor online in the travel area. She has a great knowledge of Europe and Africa and shares her thoughts on Responsible Travel on behalf of Travel Republic. Ariana has enjoyed many eco holidays incorporating helping a local economy and preserving the local beauty.