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Published on Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Why is international travel becoming more dangerous






OK so it's cheaper to go to a country that cares less about human rights than the tourist dollar. Maybe it presents better 'value' but actually when the holiday is over do visitors take the value home with them or their memory of the total experience?


We live in a dangerous world. A number of governments are at odds with their citizens - there are still many human rights abuses. This leads to disempowered citizens, millions of climate and political refugees, and fosters the growth of both regional and international terrorism.


Add to this challenging background of the internet, 24 hour news and the fact that disasters are good press and you have very good reasons for people with grudges to use violence to get them aired internationally using tourists to do so.


Moreover in many less developed countries with human rights issues hospitality workers are very low on the food chain, it stands to reason that they do their jobs for money, not for love and see rich tourists simply as full wallets, which can often lead to resentment when they are treated with distain.


Another issue that stirs anger is the changing of historic local culture to entertain tourists. In many cases host communities' culture is the little that they have to hold on to, and to see foreigners, who know little about their history, treating them as items of entertainment, photographing their families and their homes as though they were unpaid exhibitd can understandably lead to irritation and bitterness.


Against this background it is easy to see how tourists can form political targets particularly in countries that are already subject to unrest.


In many countries the difference between rich and poor is insurmountable, and, naturally it is the powerful that control tourism. Foreign tourists often are just fodder for an economic machine that extends globally.


As the world becomes more unequal it is likely that tourists will become more segregated from the host community. Is this a formula for a happy relaxed holiday or would tourists get a better, more fulfilling experience in a destination that was more harmonious?


OK so it's cheaper to go to a country that cares less about human rights than the tourist dollar. Maybe it presents better 'value' but actually when the holiday is over do visitors take the value home with them or their memory of the total experience?





Bhutan is leading the way with Its Gross National Happiness policy - a philosophy that guides its government. It includes an index which is used to measure the collective happiness and well-being of a population. But there are other countries that are also making strides to deliver holidays with real hospitality.


And there are many other countries and destinations following Bhutan's lead.


Why not deal with a happy country in 2020 for your holiday rather than a troubled one just because it's cheap?


Security is becoming a bigger and bigger issue - it is discussed in detail in the latest Sustainable Tourism 2020 ...It will take a truly objective view.


Maybe 2020 is the time?


The Sustainable Tourism Report 2020 deals in depth with this subject. A limited number of review copies may be subscribed now at a 50% discount HERE


There will be a masterclass to discuss this and other sustainable tourism matters - location Bath, date 7 February. To register for a place just email [email protected]


Valere Tjolle

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