Ethical Travel Issues

Tourism Concern was first set up to be a voice in the UK for  local people in destination countries. From 1988 until closure we championed many communities at the sharp end of tourism development. In this section we highlight the issues behind their struggles. Like other international and globalised industries, tourism can undermine human rights, and sadly it is often only possible to see the damage done when communities, livelihoods and environments have already been irreparably damaged.

All-Inclusive holidays

All Inclusive holidays

Tour operator First Choice, part of TUI, markets all its holidays as all-inclusive. Other tour operators are also keen on this model of tourism . But what does the resurgence of the all-inclusive model, where tourists are invited to ‘leave their wallets at home’, mean for the destinations we visit? Majorica – all-inclusive holidays blamed for loss of local […]

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Cruise ships: What the FOC?

Cruise ship tourism

Cruising  is arguably tourism’s greatest 21st century success story. But it is also a story of industry failure – to learn from and act on the decades of evidence showing  how damaging it can be for  local people in destination ports and and marine environments.  Read our report on Cruise Ship Tourism for more on […]

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Fighting displacement

One of the most severe effects of tourism development is the forced displacement of people from their homes. In 1995 our campaigning focused particularly on the Maasai and other tribal people of East Africa. Tourism Concern was contacted by Maasai people from Tanzania asking for help, declaring quite simply in hand-written letters: “tourism is killing […]

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Human Rights and Tourism

Indigenous Peoples & Tourism

The right to turn on a tap and see water come out, the right to access coastal land to sustain your livelihood, the right to walk around your neighbourhood, the right to privacy – these are all human rights we take for granted. But what if these rights were taken away from us – and […]

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Indigenous Peoples & Tourism

Across the world, different terms are used with reference to indigenous peoples: Aboriginals, First Nations and Native etc. These names stand for groups of people who originally populated certain parts of the world, now often marginalised by nation states. ‘Indigenous Tourism’ – often subsumed within ‘cultural tourism’ – is a term that has gained currency […]

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London Hotels to Treat Their Staff Fairly and Pay a Living Wage

It is a national scandal that London, in terms of hotel workers, is now one of the most ‘unethical’ tourist destinations in the world. In comparison in New York, which has many similarities to London, the hotel workers have safe, secure and very well paid employment. There is no reason why the big names in […]

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Orphanage Tourism

orphananage tourism

Volunteering in orphanages is bad for children! In the past decade the number of orphan children has declined worldwide, whereas the number of orphanages in many developing countries has risen in response to the demand from tourists wishing to volunteer. Orphanages have become a tourist attraction and a ‘bucket list’ volunteering opportunity. Unfortunately the resulting rise in […]

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Protecting the Kerala backwaters

Protecting the backwaters of Alleppey

For centuries the backwaters of Alleppey, Kerala have been used by local people for cooking, drinking and washing as well as for transportation, fishing and agriculture. They are also increasingly popular with tourists, who hire thatched houseboats to explore the tranquil palm-fringed waters and picturesque villages. However, unregulated tourism expansion is threatening rural communities and […]

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Sun, Sand, Sea and Sweatshops

Making the world’s biggest industry fair While we relax in the sunshine around the world, life is far from paradise for the waiters, cleaners, cooks, porters, drivers, receptionists and other staff working to make our holidays enjoyable. Tourism is the world’s biggest industry, employing an estimated 220 million people worldwide. It is an industry that […]

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Transforming Tourism

In the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development Tourism Concern joined over 30 participants, from civil society organisations from 19 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, in Berlin to discuss how tourism could be improved. All participants were committed to achieve the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of […]

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Trekking Wrongs: Porters’ Rights

Trekking Wrongs, Porters Rights

When mountain trekking was becoming big business in the early 2000s the majority of UK operators running trekking tours were not addressing porters’ rights and working conditions. But as a result of a ground-breaking campaign by Tourism Concern, Trekking Wrongs: Porters’ Rights, over half of UK trekking tour operators  adopted our code of conduct for […]

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Water injustice and tourism

Tourism is a thirsty business. Peak tourist seasons are generally during the driest months of the year. Tourism development is most intense in coastal areas and on islands, where potable water is typically scarce. Vast amounts of water are needed during the construction phase, as well as once the tourists have started to arrive. However, […]

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