Ethical Travel Dilemmas

Is it OK to ride an elephant? Go on a cruise or haggle for goods? Most people don’t set out to cause harm, but can unwittingly do so. Our aim to change consumer behavior in order that people make better and more informed choices about their holidays. Read our series of Ethical Travel Dilemmas.

Should you buy animal souvenirs?

Shoudl you buy animal souvenirs

Souvenirs, trinkets, knick-knacks and gifts that we purchase during our travels often act as a lasting memory of a holiday. These keepsakes come in all shapes and sizes and remind us of fond travel memories that may have otherwise been forgotten. However, certain souvenirs and gifts are sourced from local animals and in some case […]

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Should you conform to religious or cultural dress codes?

Should you conform to religious or cultural dress codes?

Helen Jennings, Tourism Concern writer, ponders a tricky issue: There are several typical instant reactions to this type of question. One is to say that it is entirely appropriate and important to respect the laws of hospitality and pay due deference to our hosts – ‘when in Rome’. Another response is to feel aggrieved. It […]

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Should you fly?

Should you fly on holiday?

In 2013 Tourism Concern’s fundraising team of trekkers took the train rather than plane from London to their destination Marrakesh, to reduce the environmental impact of the trip. But was this ethical and should we be encouraging tourists to stop flying altogether? There is no doubt that flying uses a lot of carbon. The flight […]

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Should you go on a cruise?

Should you go on a cruise?

More and more people are going on a cruise – whether on small ships around Scotland or the gigantic new cruise ships that dominate the Caribbean seas. But is this form of tourism ethical and sustainable? Is it acceptable ethically to take a cruise? The briefing below sets out the issues you need to consider. […]

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Should you haggle for goods?

Should you haggle for goods?

Haggling is a normal part of shopping in many countries but people should haggle with humour – making it a friendly exchange rather than driving a hard bargain. Although many tourists will come home with tales of how they hammered down the local vendor by a few rupees for a rug, responsible haggling is one […]

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Should you ride an elephant?

Should you ride an elephant?

An elephant ride is a popular tourist activity, especially in Thailand, Cambodia, Nepal and other parts of Asia. It is also becoming popular in some regions of Africa. The appeal of such treks is clear – the elephant is the largest land mammal, it’s intelligent, social and emotional. In many ways it is the equivalent […]

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Should you take part in Spiritual ceremonies?

Should you take part in Spiritual ceremonies?

It is becoming common on holidays of many kinds for tourists to be invited to take part in ‘spiritual experiences’. These may range from visiting sacred sites to being invited into a ‘sweat lodge’ or an ayahuasca ceremony. One quick answer to this question is that if you are invited to take part, then you […]

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Should you take photographs?

Should you take photographs

Travelling presents an opportunity to photograph in lots of different destinations and situations, but sometimes there may be culturally sensitive issues to think about before reaching for the camera or other photo-taking device. There are lots of people in the world who do not have clean water, electricity, schooling or enough to eat, let alone […]

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Should you visit a sea turtle conservation facility?

Should you visit a sea turtle conservation facility?

Going on holiday to exotic destinations seems the perfect opportunity to get up close with wild animals, but things are not always as they seem. Rachel Alcock, Wildlife Campaigns Manager at the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) gives hints and tips on what to look out for when deciding whether or not […]

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Should you visit an orphanage?

Should you visit an orphanage?

Visiting an orphanage has become part of the itinerary for many travellers, especially in places such as Cambodia, where some orphanages even promote themselves as ‘tourist attractions’. Luke Gracie, Alternative Care Manager from Friends International explains some of the issues travellers should consider: There are quite a lot of orphanages across Cambodia. There are also […]

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Should you visit countries where human rights are violated?

Huamn rights and tourism

At parties and social events I often get drawn into arguments about whether one should visit a country that has recently been in the news for violating human rights, committing atrocities, abusing women, or basically being run by some corrupt dictatorship. Such abuses have sadly become more common in recent years, or so it seems, […]

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Should you volunteer overseas?

Should you volunteer overseas?

The desire to travel and experience new cultures around the globe is essentially a good thing, and so is the desire to volunteer; people who volunteer generally hope to do something they will find interesting, something they will learn from and something that will help other people. But it’s up for debate whether many volunteering […]

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