Why Blank Canvas aims to break down barriers and stimulate social change
You often see examples of ‘bad tourism’ in the news – such as hundreds of cruise ships descending on the historic city of Dubrovnik every year, causing damage to its centuries-old architecture. Or, the once unspoilt coastlines of remote Greek islands now blighted by oversized holiday resort developments.
But what about tourism as a force for good? This is something that doesn’t always make the headlines, but there’s a large, dedicated body of travel companies and organisations working tirelessly towards this very goal. This includes our entire team here at Blank Canvas.
A careful balancing act
When done right, tourism can stimulate local economies, create jobs, conserve wildlife and habitats, break down barriers and smash harmful stereotypes. It benefits not only the traveller, but also the people, animals and environment in the destination they choose to visit.
But achieving this is not always so easy. It requires a thoughtful, balanced and proactive approach, to ensure that tourism minimises harmful consequences and maximises positive ones. Cooperation is also very important, as you need everyone from the travel company to the hotel manager and tour guide to buy in.
To succeed in making tourism a force for good, you need the will to commit to sustainable, ethical and responsible travel. You need to put people before profit.
The Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism
To help tourism businesses and travellers to travel responsibly, there’s a useful code of conduct to follow.
The Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism is a set of principles which encourages:
“Tourism that maximizes the benefits to local communities, minimizes negative social or environmental impacts, and helps local people conserve fragile cultures and habitats or species.”
Blank Canvas is committed to following the Cape Town Declaration principles down to the letter. Take a look here to find out how we put these essential principles at the heart of our business model.
Benefits for everyone
Ethical tourism is more than just a set of principles or a well-meaning concept though. It has clear, tangible benefits for everyone. Here are just a few:
- Creating local jobs and boosting local economies
- Safeguarding local culture and heritage
- Ensuring local people benefit at all levels
- Protecting and conserving native wildlife species
- Promoting diversity and inclusion, and respecting human rights
- Breaking down stereotypes and encouraging travellers to see the real side of each destination and its people – away from popular tourist resorts
- Working with resorts committed to sustainable energy and other measures to minimise their environmental impact
- Giving travellers richer, more meaningful and locally connected travel experiences.
Crucially, tourism also needs to avoid having a detrimental impact on destinations. This means an awareness of and strategies for avoiding exploitation, unethical wildlife treatment and environmentally damaging practices.
In the wake of COVID-19, plus the ongoing global environmental crisis, it’s never been more important for tourism to be a powerful force for good.
Want to find out more about ethical travel with Blank Canvas? Get in touch on 0207 112 8586 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your burning questions and we’ll be happy to help.