An Inside Look at Responsible Travel

Ecotourism, Sustainable Tourism, Responsible Tourism, Conscientious Tourism...what do all of these things mean and how are they connected?

By Onycha Vandermeer

It may be confusing to have so many names for the same concept, but the different types of tourism listed above are ultimately supporting the same principles. They are defined as nature-based travel that promotes conservation of the environment, sustains the well-being of the local communities, and provides education and interpretation.

What does this look like?

Conservation and Low-Impact Visitor Behavior:

Preventing further damage to wildlife, the natural environment, or a historical site.

Examples - staying on marked trails or walkways to minimize erosion from foot traffic, not taking things like plants or rocks from protected areas, avoiding causing noise or other disruptions to wildlife, or ensuring you don't leave trash behind. These things may seem obvious, but when an area receives a large volume of tourists even a small percentage of visitors choosing not to be responsible makes a negative impact.

Learning about and supporting local communities:

Many nature-based tourism destinations are home to local communities that include indigenous cultures. It's important to observe and respect local customs or traditions as well as be conscious of how your visit can positively or negatively impact local residents.


DO - Learn about the history of a local community and follow their customs while visiting. This creates an opportunity for positive interactions and educational experiences for both travelers and residents.

DO - spend money at locally owned and sustainable businesses providing food, lodging, transportation or other services to travelers. This supports income and jobs in local communities.

DON'T - spend your money at large chains that are owned by international corporations. Local communities benefit significantly from visitors buying directly from locally owned business.


Education and Volunteering

Las Olas Travel Provides a unique experience that adheres to the principles of sustainable travel as well as providing a chance for travelers to leave a deeper positive impact on local communities. All of our trips give our travelers the opportunity to spend time volunteering in teaching English, reforestation, and/or exotic animal rehabilitation, as well as experience Spanish immersion, adventure excursions, and educational experiences.