Responsible Tourism: the Good, the Bad and the WTF??

We had a fantastic four days at the Destinations Travel Show in London talking to hundreds of people about our RIGHT-tourism.org website: all the animal-friendly travel advice you’ll ever need, in one place! (hmm, that’s catchy, we might have to use that)

While there, we were surrounded by tour operators and tourist boards showing off their wares. Amid the glossy tours and cruises, there were some great examples of responsible tourism, with companies (and even countries) striving to reduce their impact on the environment. Well done to everyone making an effort in that direction.

With our focus on animal-tourism though, we couldn’t help but notice a few things leaping out at us that made us smirk/scowl/swear, depending on our mood. So here’s a quick guide to our Destinations Ironies 2013:


Irony Number One

Take a look at this China Tourist Board’s Year of Marine Tourism promo! Would now be a good time to mention the 73 million sharks killed annually for shark fin soup for the Chinese market, or the 150 million sea horses killed per year for Traditional Chinese Medicine??? Read more about ‘animals on the menu‘ here.


Irony Number Two

This official Thailand tourist leaflet says Bangkok’s Tiger Temple has 17 tigers. Latest reports suggest they actually have 112. Why does this matter? Because the Tiger Temple bills itself as a place for conservation – but that means no breeding. Did they rescue them all? Hmm. Would you want your photo taken with a rescued wild tiger? Read more about the Tiger Temple here, and about Con-servation here.


Irony Number Three

Good to see moose featured heavily in this Canadian Government brochure from Nova Scotia. Shame that numerous recent reports on in the local media for the area, including this from Canada’s CBC news, celebrated 2012’s ‘successful’ three-day moose hunt, reporting that a staggering 3556 moose were killed, up by +44% versus 2011.








All of which means, you can’t always believe marketing – though I guess we knew that already! Bottom line – there are some great examples of real animal-friendly tourism out there, so if you want to see animals on holiday, but don’t want to harm them, do your research first – starting at RIGHT-tourism.org.