What is responsible travel? In its simplest form sustainable travel is being socially and culturally aware when you travel, and understanding the impact your visit will have on a destination. By being more aware, we can minimize negative impacts and maximize the positive for not only those who live in the places we visit, but also ourselves through richer experiences. At Destination Asia we believe that every experience should be conducted in the most socially responsible and holistically sustainable way possible. We have taken great steps in recent years to conduct our business in a socially responsible and ethical manner - in a way that is good for the communities in which we work, the environment, people, and our business. Therefore any activity we undertake endeavours to tread lightly on the planet; empowering travellers and local communities to leave a positive impact on the surrounding environments in which they visit or live.
Our commitment to sustainability management and consistent sustainable business practices is underlined through our involvement with the Travelife Sustainability in Tourism Scheme. Travelife is the travel industry's leading international sustainability certification. Learn more about Travelife here.
The Indochina region is home to some of the world’s poorest communities that have experienced both the positive and negative impacts of tourism. Unfortunately, some communities have been exploited, threatening an indigenous way of life that leads to a loss of culture. Pollution, habitat destruction, and a growing gap between rich and poor are just some of the consequences. However, by facilitating responsible travel, being socially aware of our actions, and providing the necessary resources to fight poverty, we believe socially and environmentally responsible tourism can bring hope and make a positive impact on such communities. Life-changing experiences and interactions take place between the traveller and host community, education occurs unwittingly, economic growth is spurred and a cultural understanding transpires – enriching the lives of everyone involved.
What can we do to travel more responsibly? When people travel it is imperative they understand that the destination they are visiting is someone else’s home. We have made extreme efforts to involve local businesses and initiatives in our programs. By utilizing services that function with an ethical approach, travelers can experience areas that lie off the common tourist trail, discovering local crafts, workshops and education centers that have formed a positive relationship with tourism. Other enterprises we embrace are cooking programs offered by locally run charities and environmentally friendly hotels. The countries we operate in offer an immense choice of natural wonders and experiences, from the reflective to the more adventurous such as off road biking, kayaking, hiking or even gliding through the tree tops. Apart from directly benefiting the community, they will also provide an exciting and unique insight into truly authentic areas to create unforgettable memories.
Ask a representative for activities run by local communities such as community based tourism projects; those travelers who are willing to sacrifice some comfort to gain an understanding of rural life may consider a homestay; or spend a day guided by local people through their community, learning about customs and trying their hand at cooking.
A deeper understanding of the place we visit not only enhances our experience, but can help avoid making the wrong decision when faced with challenging situations. Many of the destinations we work in within Asia, including Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos are in various stages of development, and while it may be tempting to offer money directly to those we meet on the street – we urge travelers to refrain from doing so, as at times the money ends up in the hands of those who aim to deceive. We ask travelers to consult with their guide or contact a Destination Asia office to make a donation where 100% goes directly to those who are most in need. We also advise learning about the basic customs of a country, to enable a show of respect for local traditions and customary ways of life.