Author: Aurélie Delisle
1987.What can we expect from a tourist whose preparations are limited to the purchase of solar oil and tablets against malaria? We have never been trained in this new mobility that we call tourism. It is rather sedentary that we were inculcated in childhood. It is part of our life to learn how to read, to calculate, to dance, to buy, to drive, etc. But have we ever learned to travel? This serious gap is responsible for the many behavioral mistakes we make on vacation, but also for our disappointments and our inability to fully enjoy a trip.
2019.Put your left hand on your heart. Raise your right hand. Take a deep breath, exhale and repeat after me:
- « Ommmm…. I promise to be a responsible tourist».
On November 1, 2018, New Zealand launched the international campaign Tiaki Promise.
The fourth country to launch a tourism awareness initiative, it was inspired by the campaigns set up in 2017 by the Lofoten Islands in Norway (Code of Conduct), Iceland (The Icelandic Pledge) and the Palau Islands (Palau Pledge).
TIAKI is a powerful word, which can be translated into Maori language by protecting, caring for people and places. The campaign therefore aims to encourage the visitor to become a protective and ephemeral guardian of the places he explores, the people he meets, respectful and caring. In practice, every traveler must have read and signed this oath.
However, is this moral commitment sufficient to prevent behaviors and excesses of travelers? How to move from the homo touristicus, the man-vacation who wants to see everything and quickly, consume beautiful landscapes and cultures elsewhere, to conscious and responsible travelers? What if we learned from a very young age to travel, as Jost Krippendorf, a sociologist and one of the founding fathers of the concept of sustainable tourism, wrote?
Whilr writing this text, I thought back to an article recently read in Le Monde. Climate disruption is too little taught, from school to university.
And if that was also one of the solutions? To learn to develop a conscious and civic vision of travel, along with the learning of ecology, a common base experienced from a very young age? As well as learning to develop an intercultural understanding? I am deeply convinced it is a solution.
With more than 55% of the hyper-connected global population living in cities, this growing percentage learning to reconnect with the living on a daily basis is also essential to understand the importance of protecting natural areas. As a city child, I would have loved to grow up and live in the countryside. To understand that we are Nature, and that it is everything – except a commodity – and that it does not belong to us.
The example of the Republic of Palau in Oceania, this small island at the end of the world facing the full force of mass tourism – up 70% between 2010 and 2016 – understood the stakes. Palau Pledge was written by and for the children, inspired directly from the Palauan tradition. Palau’s philosophy has been integrated by the Ministry of Education since primary school, to make children understand the essential role they play in protecting the future of their country.
Another important fact is that Palau has a particular immigration policy.
Extract from Palau Pledge:
« I take this pledge,
as your guest,
to preserve and protect
your beautiful and unique
island home». […]
Let us not forget that the success of these initiatives is also based on the collaboration of all links in the tourism chain. Before, during and after our trip. From commercial agents to transportation, from accommodations to activities. To tourist offices, to governmental institutions. For example, there is a Tiaki Promise on the wall in hotels that want to be part of the game, brochures at important tourist crossing points, and during the Air New Zealand flight, a short awareness video is shown.
I applaud these campaigns that are going in the right direction and we can hope that other countries will follow them, for more conscientious and citizen journeys.
And you, dear human, what do you think?
 Jost Krippendorf, LES VACANCES, ET APRÈS ? Pour une nouvelle compréhension des loisirs et des voyages, L’Harmattan, 1987, 239 pages.
Author: Aurélie Delisle