Djemme - Slow Travel,
as promoter of sustainable tourism, follows the criteria proposed by
to design a travel; those criteria involve rights and duties of all
the actors: the traveller, the tour operator and the
hosting local community.
The following criteria are valid for anyone organizing a tour,
independently from the number of travellers (a small group, a couple,
a single) or to propose it to a travel agency, re-selling to its
There is no happiness for those
who never travel, Rohita!
By dint of staying in the men society,
Even the best man gets lost.
Go on travel.
The travellerís feet become flowers,
And his soul grows and gives fruits
And his vicious are washed up by
the effort of travelling.
The fate of the one who stays still,
It sleeps when he falls asleep
And it gets up when he wakes up.
So go, travel, Rohita!
from the Brahmana, sacred books of India
In details, which behaviour are desirable before, during e after a travel?
PLANNING A JOURNEY
Slow Travel: visiting all the country in two weeks is not necessary! If your travel plan is too full, you risk of having no time to get a real and deep knowledge of the place you are, particularly about the interaction with local people.
The information shall be transparent and complete; the operator, and the traveller himself, should provide detailed information about the country of destination. Among those, a little manual of behaviour (see the manual for Morocco or that of Kenya).
A sustainable travel requires preparation: if there is no time available before leaving, you could spent two or three days in the arrival city to get used, read, start tasting the spirit of the place.
If the travellers joins a group organized by a travel agency, he is entitled to get a complete report about cost split of the tourist package he bought (accommodation, food, transports, guides, support to local development projects, and so on ...). Furthermore, the tour operator is strongly expected to specify how much of the total package cost contributes to the local economy.
Another key point "before" the travel is the preparatory meeting: the tour organizer will gather all the travellers to meet each other (in case of a group tour) and/or to meet the tour guide if possible; his preparatory meeting is also another occasion to clarify the content of a sustainable travel and provide all the necessary practical information.
The guessing local community should be motivated as well by both availability to dialogue and will of planning by the tourism industry in own place. When designing an itinerary, the organizer shall verify how interested is the local community on tourism as sustainable and ecological source of income.
Concerning the respect for environmental heritage, not only of the destination country but also of the entire planet, the traveller could do something really concrete: following an ethical behaviour during the journey, asking which is the ecological impact of his holiday, compensating it if he wish. br>
An ethical behaviour means to respect all the environmental basic rules: avoid fire in dangerous place, avoid buying protected animals, do not leave any rubbish (cigarette ends included) where there is no collecting system, avoid hotel with swimming pool where water lack is, etc etc
Anyway, the entire journey leaves an environmental print, and now various institutions can estimate this mark in term of produced carbon dioxide and consequently to compensate it throughout reforestation of green area of the planet (for example the project Impatto Zero, conceived and promoted by LifeGate) or by financing some environmental project (such as ClimateCare, an English institution).
BEHAVIOUR DURING THE JOURNEY
Often, above all for destinations in South of the world, uses and local habits are really different from Westerns: way to dress, relation with religion and god, women role, food habits, attention for environment etc. By the travellerís side max availability for respect for the visiting country is a must!
A mention is due to the environment respect: sometimes attention about environmental issues is not very high in countries where primary needs are not satisfied for the great majority of the population! Itís at least useless hoping in a differentiate collection of rubbish in a slum, where every day someone dies for starving (or killed).. But that is not a justification for traveller to behave irresponsibly towards the environment just because local people throw away own rubbish in the street.
Concerning the services to be used during the travel, you should always take in consideration the two following key criterions:
as much you use services affordable for the local people as much your travel will be more respectful and less intrusive (an hotel where a room costs as the monthly salary of a waiter is not very ethic!)
to maximize the economical return on the destination country, using enterprise of local property, instead of big hotel chains and international renting companies, is always advisable
The ideal solution for accommodation is hospitality in families, allowing a deep contact with local culture and habits.
According to chosen destination and itinerary, local guides, could be extremely useful, maybe integrated by an European tour mediator (above all for group tours, organized by sustainable tourism).
The type of internal transport should offer the best compromise among environmental impact, duration of the journey, opportunity of sharing with local people and cost; obviously this choice can vary from country to country.
Concerning food and restaurants, the organizer should provide a complete description of the possibilities offered by any destination.
Finally, a good way to know a country is represented by both cooperation and local social projects, operating in environmental, social or developing. Inside the panorama of cooperative or associative structure of the country, there are different realities, and the tour organizer must valuate which is to support and which is not, maybe just because already successful.
The traveller interested to these elements of the visiting country, should be available as well to support the visiting projects, also economically, and normally this visit should be not only one hour of introduction by the managers, but living within the community, or working or having dinner or spending the night always together with the people, etc.
WHEN THE JOURNEY IS OVER
Aid to development and employment increase: among the characteristics of a sustainable travel, an important role is played by the opportunity of new incomes for local communities, based on both a middle-long term view and a diversification of the economical activities (cash gained by tourism are shared into the development of the entire community, to be less dependent by a unique activity, rather unstable). Referring to employment increase, travel organizer should be committed to training local guides.
Concerning group tours by sustainable travel agencies, a travel proposal is not stable and immutable during the time: the tour operator is due to make the travel balance when it is just finished, gathering the information (especially complains and advices for improving) both from travellers and from local partners.
Finally the traveller as well takes home a mass of information, which could be useful for future travellers: so itís well appreciated putting his own material (photos, tales, audios/videos) or even, if possible, taking part in the preparatory meeting of the following groups.
See also the Documentation (web sites, articles and books about sustainable tourism)