Alternative tourism popularity is rising recently, due to more and more voices critical voices towards mass tourism and its negative impact on the environment and local communities tourist destinations. Reality of modern mass tourism is unfortunately often dark, it involves: alcohol abuse, drugs, foreign exchange leakages, illegal trafficking, prostitution. This kind of tourism does not lead participants to a true knowledge of the host country. Often it is only a superficial contact with enclaves prepared for foreigners. Too many tourists leads to the degradation of the exceptional natural and historical sites. This leads to an increase in crime and antagonism between tourists and natives.
Alternative tourism as a fair form of travel
All these risks can be eased, by the alternative tourism. It encourages the development of a fair, equitable and creative forms of travel. It aims to find solutions that lead to mutual understanding, solidarity and equality between the parties concerned. The main purpose of alternative tourism is to seek contact with the indigenous peoples. In this way it allows newcomers to learn the culture of the visited country or region and its economic history and way of life.
Mental and physical requirements of alternative tourist
Alternative tourism is characterized by a high degree of difficulty of its practice. Very often it forces people to considerable physical and mental effort, which can be compared to qualified tourism. The result is that the participant of this type of tourism should have a suitable physical and mental preparation and good knowledge of language and travel arrangements.
Alternative tourism is trying to find and spread the possibilities of different, unconventional forms of tourism. It is concentrated on the sightseeing, culture, history, cuisine of target country. Is performed mainly in small informal groups of friends. It is an attempt to escape from the typical mass leisure activities, which are full of flaws. This type of tourism should be a good complement to mass tourism but probably it never replace it.
Main postulates of alternative tourism
The main postulates of alternative tourism are:
- provide good and feasible solutions different from mass forms of tourism
- a fair distribution of income among the residents of the territories and companies supporting this form of travel
- facilitating such contact between tourists and the local population to enrich both sides, and also guaranteed the dignity and rights of both parties
- respect for the population of visited sites for their religion, culture and mentality
- abandonment of any symptoms of colonialism in tourism.
Examples of Alternative tourism
- Responsible Tourism: Responsible tourism is an approach to travel that seeks to minimize negative economic, environmental and social impacts, while also providing tourists with a meaningful experience. It is a way of travelling that respects local cultures, customs, and traditions. This type of tourism is based on principles of sustainability, respect for the environment, and the development of local communities. Responsible tourism encourages travelers to explore the local culture and customs, support local businesses, and respect nature.
- Adventure Tourism: Adventure tourism involves activities that involve an element of risk and danger, such as trekking, mountain climbing, and white-water rafting. Adventure tourism is an excellent way to explore remote and wild areas of the world and to experience a different way of life. It helps to promote a greater understanding of different cultures and to support local economies.
- Ecotourism: Ecotourism is a form of tourism that is centered on experiencing natural environments and the cultures of the areas they visit. Ecotourism is based on principles of sustainability, conservation, and respect for the environment. It encourages travelers to explore natural areas and gain a greater understanding of the local environment, culture, and history. Ecotourism is a great way to support local communities and help preserve the environment.
Advantages of Alternative tourism
Alternative tourism offers a number of advantages over traditional mass tourism. These include:
- It encourages a deeper understanding of the destination country and its culture, rather than a superficial tourist experience. This allows tourists to have a more meaningful experience and to appreciate the history and culture of the destination.
- It also encourages local economic development by creating jobs in the hospitality industry and increasing demand for locally-sourced services. This helps to support local businesses and provides a source of income for the local community.
- Additionally, alternative tourism can reduce the environmental impact of tourism, as tourists are more likely to use public transport and other sustainable methods of travel. This can help to reduce pollution and make more efficient use of resources.
- Finally, alternative tourism can be more socially responsible, as it encourages tourists to take part in activities that benefit the local community, such as volunteering or supporting local charities. This can help to create a more positive relationship between tourists and the local people.
Limitations of Alternative tourism
Alternative tourism, while providing a more meaningful experience to travelers, is not without its limitations. These include:
- Higher cost: Alternative tourism often requires a larger budget compared to traditional tourism due to its focus on more meaningful experiences.
- Limited access: Alternative tourism often requires more effort to access, as it usually takes place in more remote areas and requires more difficult transportation.
- Language barrier: Alternative tourism often requires travelers to learn the local language, which can be a challenge for travelers with limited language proficiency.
- Cultural sensitivity: Alternative tourism can be a challenge for travelers who are not aware of the cultural sensitivities of the local community they are visiting.
- Lack of infrastructure: Alternative tourism often takes place in areas with limited infrastructure, which can make the experience more difficult for travelers who are used to more luxury accommodations.
Alternative tourism approaches strive to create meaningful experiences for the tourist and the host community, while avoiding the negative effects of mass tourism. Alternative tourism includes:
- Responsible Tourism – Responsible Tourism is travel that is mindful of the environment, culture, and society of the host country, and is aimed at minimizing the negative impacts of tourism while increasing its positive effects.
- Voluntourism – Voluntourism involves combining volunteering activities with tourism and travelling. It allows tourists to become personally involved in the host country, while also learning about its culture and helping the community.
- Ecotourism – Ecotourism is focused on preserving the environment and the unique biodiversity of a destination and its culture. It is a form of travel that educates and respects the local culture, while also attempting to be as eco-friendly as possible.
- Cultural Tourism – Cultural Tourism is about experiencing and learning about the history, traditions, and culture of a destination. It is focused on creating meaningful connections between the tourist and the host community, and providing an authentic experience.
In summary, Alternative Tourism strives to create meaningful and sustainable tourism experiences for both the tourist and the host community, while avoiding the negative effects of mass tourism. It is focused on increasing the positive impacts of tourism by educating and respecting the host country and its culture.
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